Why the Labour leader's supporters should take this 'coup' seriously
For those around Jeremy Corbyn, the usual attack lines are evident in this latest round. They argue that plotters remain a group of Blairites who have long been seeking to destabilise a leader they believe is simply not up to the job.
But to interpret what is happening like this would be a mistake. This coup is far more dangerous for Corbyn than his team might think.
First, many will recall the list leaked earlier this year, drawn up by the leader’s office of where Labour MPs stand in support for the party leader.
What is striking is that a number of those MPs listed as ‘Core Group Plus’, who were seen as largely supportive of Corbyn, are turning on him.
Shadow cabinet ministers Lillian Greenwood (former Unison official), Vernon Coaker and Karl Turner have resigned; Karen Buk has called for Corbyn to stand down, along with Shadow Housing Minister Roberta Blackman-Woods.
As of midday, Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Owen Smith and Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary Lisa Nandy, have also resigned, with Nandy calling for deputy leader Tom Watson to become caretaker leader of the party.
Add that to the news that the former Unite Official, Chris Matheson MP, has resigned as a PPS, and Corbyn’s problems are much wider than a right-wing plot to oust a left-wing leader.
Second, while MPs such as Emily Thornberry have argued that Corbyn’s euro-scepticism is in tune with working class northern heartlands, his failure to address the immigration issue has not played well.
And let’s remember the polling by YouGov in February which found that 81 per cent of Labour members planned to vote to Remain in the EU.
Corbyn’s lacklustre campaign to Remain will not have played well with members at all, hence the growing sense of concern among the grassroots of the party.
Third, Corbyn supporters cannot point to any evidence that they are on the path to some great general election victory.
Indeed, research seen by PoliticsHome suggests 150 Labour MPs could loose their seat if the next Conservative Leader calls a snap election. It includes MPs Ed Miliband, Stephen Kinnock, Michael Dugher, Yvette Cooper, Maria Eagle and Andy Burnham.
Fourth, Corbyn’s new strongly anti-trident Shadow Cabinet line-up rubs against Unite’s expressed policy position of favouring renewal to safeguard valuable jobs.
This is likely to cause considerable difficulty if Corbyn’s new team is to defy expectations and last anything longer than the next week or so.
The reality is that Corbyn is in trouble. He and his team now have their heads in the sand.
Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward
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