The BBC appears to be scraping the bottom of the barrel; I thought Angela Eagle was ready to challenge Jeremy Corbyn last Thursday.
So, why doesn’t she? Is she afraid she’ll lose? Or just hoping the lawyers will say he can’t be on the ballot paper because he can’t get enough nominations.
The latter possibility will never happen. Here’s why:
The current rules on Labour leadership elections have been researched by the House of Commons Library, and the results may be viewed here: researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN03938/SN03938.pdf
The relevant part states: “Where there is no vacancy, nominations may be sought by potential challengers each year prior to the annual session of Party conference. In this case any nomination must be supported by 20 per cent of the combined Commons members of the PLP and members of the EPLP. Nominations not attaining this threshold shall be null and void.”
There is no vacancy, so only challengers for the leadership – not the leader himself – have to collect support from MPs and MEPs.
If the post was vacant, then only 32 signatures would be needed – 12.5 per cent of those available. That’s well within Corbyn’s power.
In the article, Ms Eagle said: “It’s a week since Jeremy lost that vote of no confidence and there are many other people up and down the country wanting him to consider his position.”
That’s not quite an untruth. Many people probably do want him to “consider his position” (a euphemism; she means “quit”). Many more know he already has and is satisfied that a majority want him to stay. We’ve had tens of thousands of people rallying for him to stay, after all. When will be the first rally for him to quit?
Until we see tangible evidence that people really want him to go, Ms Eagle is doing nothing but spouting wind.
The article also persists with the claim that Mr Corbyn is refusing to speak to Labour MPs. This one was debunked last week but John McDonnell provided a nice new comment to clarify: “If they request a meeting with Jeremy today, he will give them that meeting… he has had an open door policy all the way through.
“It would be better if those MPs who have stood down from their positions thought again and started working again, supporting the party in opposition.”
The unions’ offer to mediate an agreement between Mr Corbyn and the mutineers seems generous, but what do they want out of it?
Finally, if Norman Smith is right and the mutineers are waiting until after the Chilcot Report is published – to see if Mr Corbyn will say his piece about Tony Blair deserving to be before a war crimes trial and then go – then This Writer may be more influential than I thought I was.
I tweeted Tom Watson a couple of days ago, suggesting a cease-fire until after Chilcot – to remove any suspicions that the mutineers were trying to stifle legitimate criticism of Mr Blair.
Perhaps he passed the message on. If so, it’ll be the only one that has actually got through to them.
Labour’s Angela Eagle says she will run against Jeremy Corbyn unless he quits.
Ms Eagle said she had enough support to mount a challenge to resolve the “impasse” in the party since MPs passed a vote of no confidence in the leader.
But Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said unions could broker a peace deal between MPs and the leadership.
He denied access to Mr Corbyn was being restricted, saying the leader had an “open door” policy towards MPs and that Ms Eagle could meet him today.
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