Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn Selects His Shadow Cabinet

Labour's newly-elected leader Jeremy Corbyn has announced the majority of the top positions in his first shadow cabinet, with the installation of his leadership rival, Andy Burnham as shadow home secretary one of the most notable appointments.

The veteran left-wing politician, who swept to victory in Saturday's leadership election with 59.5% of the vote, put his election campaign manager John McDonnell in charge of the economy portfolio as shadow chancellor. Other appointments included Hilary Benn as shadow foreign secretary and Angela Eagle as shadow business secretary and shadow first secretary of state.

Member of parliament for Lewisham, Heidi Alexander becomes shadow health secretary, replacing Burnham as he moves to the home portfolio. Lord Falconer remains as shadow justice secretary and Diane Abbott, Labour's London mayoral candidate who lost out to Sadiq Khan on Saturday, becomes shadow minister for international development.

McDonnell could prove to be a controversial appointment as chancellor in the eyes of many Labour politicians. He has previously said that he would "swim through vomit" to vote against benefit cuts, once told a union event that he would "like to go back to the 1980s and assassinate [former British prime minister Margaret] Thatcher" and wishes to nationalize banks.

Along with the new appointments there was also a swathe of resignations from the shadow cabinet as Corbyn rose to head the party. Former shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna said he would leave the front bench by "mutual agreement" while shadow health minister Jamie Reed resigned immediately on Twitter after the result was announced.

Former Labour leader Ed Miliband, who was beaten by David Cameron's Conservatives in May's parliamentary elections, pledged his support for Corbyn but said he must work to unite the party rather than divide it. "I'll be offering Jeremy Corbyn my support. I hope also that Jeremy Corbyn reaches out to all parts of the party because he has a big job to do to unite the party," he said. "Jeremy has won a very clear victory in all sections. I believe we should respect that mandate."

Corbyn's election signals a sea change in Labour policy. During his campaign the left-winger was vocal about rejecting austerity, supporting the scrapping of Britain's Trident nuclear deterrent and the renationalisation of the railways. He has also come under fire for his links to militant groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, who he has in the past described as "friends." Corbyn says he used the term in a diplomatic context.

Corbyn's rise to frontrunner during the leadership election campaign also saw prominent Labour figures such as former prime minister Tony Blair and cabinet minister Peter Mandelson clamor to condemn the left-wing politician who has served as member of parliament for his Islington North constituency for over 30 years.