Andrew Castle is Leading Britain's Conversation.
28 September 2015, 16:03
In the second of a series looking at the most influential political figures in Britain, Iain Dale gives his verdict on the Top 100 people on the Left in 2015.
"Each year I convene three panels to compile lists of the Top 50 Liberal Democrats, the Top 100 People on the Left and the Top 100 People on the Right. Each list is published to coincide with the three party conferences. Today, it's time to look at the Left."
Leader of the Labour Party. There is no doubt that Jeremy Corbyn’s election to Labour’s leadership has changed the political weather. He’s galvanised the Labour left in a way no one has since Tony Benn or Ken Livingstone. But can he stick to his principled agenda without compromising Labour’s chances of electoral success?
First Minister of Scotland. She’s taken to power like a duck to water and she’s without doubt the first lady of the left in the UK. Her popularity in Scotland is unchallenged and many in England wish they could vote for her. After next May’s elections she’s likely to be even more powerful.
Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. Some wonder how long it will be before Watson resigns from this position, like he has from all the other positions of power he has ever held. This is to underestimate him. He protests that he has no interest in eventually becoming leader, but one wonders how he will build and then use his new power base.
Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer. Possibly the most unlikely appointment since Caligula made his horse a senator. McDonnell and his unique brand of economics are loathed politically by almost the entire Parliamentary Labour Party. How long will their patience last?
General Secretary, UNITE. Money talks and Len McCluskey has a lot of it to distribute. Jeremy Corbyn may have a lot in common politically with Len McCluskey but can he persuade the UNITE leader to open his wallet? McCluskey won’t want to throw good money after bad, and will certainly exact a price for his munificence.
Chief of Staff to Jeremy Corbyn. One of the few people with executive experience in Jeremy Corbyn’s inner circle, Fletcher performed the same role for Ken Livingstone when he was Mayor of London. His performance in this role will in part determine Corbyn’s chances of success.
Shadow Business Secretary. The Shadow Chancellor who never was, Angela Eagle may turn out to be one of the most important voices in the shadow cabinet. She’s popular and perfectly capable of saying ‘no’ if she won’t go along with something.
Chief Whip. It’s rumoured that she conducted the reshuffle more or less alone after Jeremy Corbyn made the decision about John McDonnell. She will have the job from hell trying to keep the various factions of the PLP together, but if anyone can do it, she can.
Shadow Foreign Secretary. One of the great survivors of modern politics, Hilary Benn is popular amongst his colleagues and is more likely to be able to adapt to the new regime than most, and is likely to stand up to any excesses of the Corbyn leadership with both determination and grace.
Director of Policy. A massive appointment for Jeremy Corbyn, and possibly the only one welcomed by all sides of the party. Coleman was a key figure in the Livingstone mayoralty and was so impressive that Boris Johnson kept him on.
Former Deputy Leader of the Labour Party
General Secretary of the Labour Party
Labour candidate for Mayor of London
General Secretary of UNISON
Former Labour leadership candidate
General Secretary of the GMB
Shadow Defence Secretary
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Shadow International Development Secretary
Shadow Home Secretary
Shadow Justice Secretary
General Secretary, TUC
Shadow Communities Secretary
Shadow Energy & Climate Change Secretary
Shadow Minister for Housing
Shadow Minister for Youth Engagement
Shadow Work & Pensions Secretary
Shadow Health Secretary
Former Prime Minister
Former Shadow Business Secretary
Political Adviser on stakeholder engagement to Jeremy Corbyn
SNP Foreign Affairs Spokesman
Former deputy leadership candidate
Former Mayor of London and LBC presenter
Labour MP for Lancaster & Fleetwood
Political Director of UNITE
Welsh First Minister
Leader of the Scottish Labour Party
Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party
Chairman of Progress
Shadow Culture, Media & Sport Secretary
Former Prime Minister
Former leadership candidate
Former Shadow Work & Pensions Secretary
Shadow Mental Health Minister
Shadow Education Secretary
Labour MP for Barnsley
Green MP for Brighton Pavilion
Deputy Chief of Staff to Jeremy Corbyn
Former Shadow Education Secretary
Chairman of Labour's NEC
SNP MP for Paisley & Renfrewshire South
Editor, New Statesman
Deputy Editor, New Statesman
Political Director, UNITE
Editor, The Guardian
Editor, Left Futures
SNP Deputy First Minister of Scotland
Leader of the SNP in Westminster
Philanthropist & Labour donor
Assistant Editor, Daily Mirror
Chairman, Home Affairs Select Committee
Labour MP for Dagenham
Secretary, Labour First
Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
General Secretary, PCS
General Secretary, RMT
Press Secretary to Jeremy Corbyn
Economics Editor, Channel Four News
Labour MP for Rochdale
Former Home Secretary
Leader of Manchester City Council
Chairman of JML & party donor
Editor, Daily Mirror
General Secretary, FBU
Respect London mayoral candidate
Labour leader in the House of Lords
Shadow Minister without portfolio & NEC member
Shadow Europe Minister_
Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
Executive Director, In Campaign
Columnist, The Independent
Green Party London mayoral candidate
Labour MP for Norwich South
Leader, Green Party
Labour MP for Ilford North
Former Leader of the Labour Party
SNP Minister for External Affairs
Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley
Deputy Leader of the SNP in Westminster
Labour MP for Holborn & St Pancras
Editor of the New Statesman 'Staggers' blog
Labour leader on the LGA
Leader of Plaid Cymru
Editor, Morning Star