Four reasons this plot to oust Jeremy Corbyn is different

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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15 Responses to “Four reasons this plot to oust Jeremy Corbyn is different”

  1. CR

    This is coup against a Brexit supporting leader by a bunch of pro-EU Blairites and is part of a wider move to attack the democratic will of the British people who voted with a majority of well over 1,000,000 votes to leave the EU.

  2. Kathryn Hyde

    Jeremy was very clear on immigration:

    “I don’t think you can have one while you have the free movement of labour.

    “I think the free movement of labour means you have to balance the economy so you have to improve living standards and conditions and so that means the European Union’s appalling treatment of Greece, particularly the European Central Bank as well as the European Union, that is a problem.

    “If you actually deliberately lower living standards and increase poverty in certain countries in south-east and eastern Europe then you’re bound to have a flow of people looking for somewhere else to go.
    “Surely the issue is an anti-austerity, a growth package all across Europe rather than this,”

    Considering that the Leave leaders have now pretty much admitted they will not oppose the free movement of Labour within the EU, I am aghast that you continue to peddle the line that “his failure to address the immigration issue has not played well”.

  3. Mason Dixon, Autistic

    ‘No path to election victory’, I took a look at the link and well, it’s based on constituencies which as a majority voted Leave but these are all people who despise and want rid of Corbyn. The same people criticising Corbyn’s referendum performance are the people who failed to convince their own constituencies to Remain. These are the people along with the resigned shadow cabinet members who should be de-selected; they won’t be fighting the next general election which will be fought if it is called soon on one question: will who ever wins trigger article 50 and negotiate our leaving the EU?

    The Conservative Party leadership contest is going to be fought on this basis and there’s one problem- Boris Johnson is the only candidate who we are certain will fight it on the basis of ‘yes I will’ but it’s already obvious he doesn’t want to and never meant to win, so he can’t actually be trusted to do it as prime minister. His opponents in the contest will lose because the most trustworthy among them will fight on the basis of ‘no I will postpone article 50 indefinitely’.

    There is only one politician in Britain who is a candidate for prime minister who we can be almost 100% certain will mean what they say when they make ‘I will activate article 50’ an election promise- Jeremy Corbyn. Far from indicating a massive defeat, the Leave vote in Labour held constituencies points to the easiest cakewalk by the least likely candidate in UK electoral history.

  4. Jimmy Glesga

    I am a Labour Party member and supported brexit. I do not think Corbyn and McDonnell can deliver an election victory so the leadership has to change. However blaming Corbyn for not being enthusiastic about remaining is just an excuse to get rid of him. I do think Corbyn was deep down a Brexiter but just followed the Labour mob.

  5. Martyn Wood-Bevan

    I think that this coup is an unbelievable waste of time and money. Too many Labour MP’s are genuinely out of touch with ordinary voters and need to find something else to do after any future general election.
    If they had offered genuine support to Jeremy Corbyn he would be even better as a leader than he is now. He was the only previous leadership candidate with the ability to speak to many many people, had wisdom and insight the other candidates lacked and a refreshing style in the House of Commons which has led to many Govt. U-turns. This in spite of the PLP, which seem incapable of forming a coherent argument or new idea.

  6. John Woods

    I gave up on Jeremy after 3 months when I saw sufficient evidence of why had spent 33 happy years on the back benches. That anyone could do that and then be expected to want to become PM is more than any normal person could be. He should have known this himself, but then Michael Foot did not know until after the disaster that was 1983. Then we got Kinnock.

  7. Robert Jones

    I don’t think we need to be told that this is serious; that much is obvious. In fact it’s more than serious – it’s of historic importance. Because if Corbyn is removed, however it’s done, it will mean that the Parliamentary Labour Party has reasserted its historic power to determine who leads the party. That will mean the membership is once again relegated to a supporting cast to the main players, and I just don’t believe our people are going to put up with that – almost irrespective of what they may think of the man himself.

    It’s important beyond the immediately obvious reasons for Corbyn to remain as leader – it’s important because the will of the party must reside, ultimately, with the membership. If it doesn’t, we will have forfeited the right to claim that Labour is a democratic party.

  8. Aaron

    Complaints about Corbyn’s Brexit campaigning seems like a very convenient way for other Labour MPs to cover their ass. Whatever Corbyn did or did not deliver in the Brexit referenudm, they apparently did not deliver either, and arguably are further away from Labour voters on the issue than Corbyn is. By blaming Corbyn they can continue on their merry way, keep trying to resurrect the New Labour coalition, and thus hasten the party toward electoral insignificance.

    You can get this sense that in trying to pin the blame for the referendum outcome on Corbyn not campaigning hard enough, the PLP can continue to pretend there isn’t a real issue to deal with: that if they just sold the message enough the voters would fall in line with them. Except the voters are increasingly falling in line with the right wing, not the centre-left. Whatever Corbyn’s electoral prowess or lack thereof, he at least represents a real choice for voters. This must be something of a relief to many, having seen how quickly the Liberal Democrats sold themselves out to Tory dominance for the price of temporary political validation.

  9. ted francis

    When you cut through the devoted partisan biases and view the situation objectively you will understand why an increasing number in the party question whether Jeremy has the kind of electoral charismatic appeal to sway the necessary uncommitted voters we would need to win a general election. His performance in the referendum campaign was lacklustre to say the least. And I’m no Blairite, I voted for Jeremy as leader.

  10. Greg

    Or do they just want him well out of the way before the Chilcot Report comes out???

  11. Paul Roberts

    We have an honest leader, elected by the members. He also happens to be a socialist, a real socialist. If the PLP remove him by by fair means or foul the media will love it. The capitalist media do not report anything positive about the Labour Party or its leader. Brexit told lies, the “in” campaign exaggerated, Corbyn told the truth and was castigated for it by the PLP that did not understand or even recognise the truth. How can we call ourselves a Democratic Party if we let the PLP remove Jeremy Corbyn. I have waited patiently for nearly 50yrs to have a real socialist as leader of the Labour Party, how can I support a Labour MP that does not seem to accept or understand democracy? Yet I must if I want a Labour Government, even a sub standard one will be better than the fascists we are likely get if Boris and his millionaire sect grab power, as I believe that is what the Brexit movement was all about, a power grab, nothing to do with a benefit for the UK or its people. My support remains with Jeremy Corbyn.

  12. George Lonie

    The rank and file of the labour party voted overwhelmingly for Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the labour Party, the ones who are now trying to bring him down should be ashamed, and how dare they say that he is unelectable, surely this will be left to democracy of the British people and if they are indeed the dissenters’ are successful then in my opinion it will be meltdown for the Labour party, has no one taken cognisance as to what happened to the Party in Scotland, and if we carry on as a party run by right wing political careerist’s we are hopelessly dammed, I have been an active trade unionist for 48 years and a member of the party for 33 years, and a 100% supporter of Geremy Corbyn, a real socialist and honest leader of the party,as previous people have pointed out, and incidentally who has increased the membership of the labour Party by 200.000 members, My loyalty to the party and membership will end if these careerist are successful in removing the democratically elected leader of the Party, as Jim Larkin Said “we need more of sanity and less of vain and ignorant pride.

  13. Tony

    “Indeed, research seen by PoliticsHome suggests 150 Labour MPs could loose (sic) their seat (sic) if the next Conservative Leader calls a snap election”

    It is this which is being used to cause panic among Labour MPs. Tristram Hunt alluded to it when he appeared on the television on Sunday. And it was alluded to on the Today Programme this morning.

    However, two points:

    “An early parliamentary general election is to take place if—
    (a) the House of Commons passes a motion in the form set out in
    subsection (2), and
    (b) if the motion is passed on a division, the number of members who vote in favour of the motion is a number equal to or greater than two thirds of the number of seats in the House (including vacant seats).”

    The Labour Party has 232 seats (more than a third of the total of 650). Enough to block such a vote.
    The article on Politics Home was co-written by Kevin Schofield who used to be the Sun’s chief political correspondent. Take a look at that article. No sources are given. I do wonder whether this research really exists at all. Why have you chosen to take it seriously?

    So, it would seem that some Labour MPs want to dump Corbyn on the basis of an event that is highly unlikely to happen using totally unsourced ‘research’ which may not even exist at all.

  14. Socialist Unity | Debate & analysis for activists & trade unionists

    […] back into the dark ages, when there was little to distinguish right from left. Of course it is not just the Blairites who are walking out, as the exodus has left a few loyal Corbyn supporters feeling that they are […]

  15. Carey

    You know what – I’m sick of all those who have managed to overturn the biggest momentum for change in the pol system by voting in such huge numbers for Jeremy Corbyn for Leader. How dare these MPs continue to make him and the Labour Party unelectable. How dare the namby pamby liberal media do the same? We expect it from the Tories, but you lot have done an even better job – congrats…..bag of snakes comes to mind….

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