News: Jeremy Corbyn: Is the Labour party turning on its leader?

News: Jeremy Corbyn: Is the Labour party turning on its leader?

Another Lincolnshire Highlights news story…

The Daily Mirror reports that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was confronted by his own MPs earlier this week during a meeting and slated for his lack of leadership.

Support for the party has plummeted in recent weeks and MPs argued that a range of issues – including whether to back a second referendum and the party’s response to anti-semitism cases – were behind voters turning away.

This is not the first time Corbyn has been at odds with his MPs, having faced a vote of no confidence three years ago that he survived due to the support of party members, reports Perspecs.

The Claim

Labour MP Anna Turley told The Independent that the meeting had been so angry that the cleaners were “still mopping up the blood on the carpet”.

She said her colleagues were “shell shocked” after normally quiet and loyal MPs launched furious attacks on the party leadership.

Poor results in the European elections and the equalities watchdog launching an anti-semitism investigation were the main points of contention, with MPs accusing Corbyn of “pretending everything is fine while the Tories implode”.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
(Image: BristolLive)

They said a lack of leadership from Corbyn was making it difficult for MPs to vote for their own party at the ballot box, warning that “people who worked with you for years are turning away from us”.

MPs are also concerned that the leadership is becoming increasingly cliquey, with Corbyn surrounded by advisors and ultra-loyal politicians while exiling those who appear to question party strategy.

The Counter Claim

Writing for Bloomberg, Therese Raphael argues that Corbyn is employing “sound political strategy”.

She believes his plan of “constructive ambiguity” is an exercise in smart politics when everyone else is digging deeper into their own positions.

Raphael suggests another general election is coming and the Labour leadership’s strategy of not actively driving away any one group of supporters will pay dividends then, at which point some of the MPs who are doubting his leadership will come around.

The Peterborough by-election result has also helped bolster support for Corbyn. Seen as a challenge to the Labour leader, his party held the seat against the odds and robbed critics of expected ammunition.

Corbyn has been under pressure before and managed to survive losing a vote of no confidence. He’s still the bogeyman for the Tories and capable of whipping up surprising support for elections.

The Facts

The parliamentary Labour party meets every week, Corbyn doesn’t generally attend the meetings and this was the first time he addressed his MPs since last month’s European elections.

Last month the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched an official inquiry into the party to determine whether “unlawful acts of discrimination” have been committed. They will also investigate whether Labour failed to properly respond to complaints of anti-semitism.

Support for Labour has dropped in recent weeks, but current general election polls have them as the party that will end up with the largest portion of support in the event of a vote.

Both ComRes and BMG Research have Labour on 27 per cent as the party with the largest support in the UK.

However, the party was on 42 per cent of the vote a year ago and 36 per cent at the start of the year, and MPs are concerned that a collapse in Conservative support is masking what would otherwise be considered a disaster for Labour.

As long as Labour’s strategies are ambiguous and the leadership a closed circle, MPs will keep asking the same questions.

Meanwhile, a majority of party members still back Corbyn and his leadership, but they are increasingly demanding he adopt an “unambiguous” position. His support among the membership has kept MPs in line since 2016, and without them his position is very vulnerable.



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