Jeremy Corbyn has accused critics of “living in the 18th Century” amid jibes that he has overlooked women for Labour’s biggest jobs.
The new leader insisted he did not regard the traditional Treasury, home affairs and foreign affairs briefs as the most important – and pointed out that the majority of his shadow cabinet was female.
Mr Corbyn also said it was a “bit of an achievement” that he had managed to gather an “inclusive” team despite a slew of senior figures indicating they would not serve.
Speaking to journalists outside Labour HQ in central London after unveiling a full list of his top team, the Islington North MP was asked why no women were shadowing the Great Offices of State.
“Is health more important? You are living in the 18th Century, if I might say so,” he said. “We have a shadow cabinet, a majority of women, covering all areas of policy and public life, and I think it is a great team we have got together.
“We have spent a lot of time doing it and a lot of care, and it reaches out to the entire party, and I think that is a bit of an achievement, if I may say so.”