Jeremy Corbyn has taken back the initiative. His supporters must not let him down

Supporters of Jeremy Corbyn at a rally in Leeds on Saturday (June 2) [Image: Harry Whitehead/Rex/Shutterstock].

Supporters of Jeremy Corbyn at a rally in Leeds on Saturday (June 2) [Image: Harry Whitehead/Rex/Shutterstock].

There’s only one story in politics today: Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour leadership (the Tory leadership won’t involve a public vote so nobody cares). What a shame so much nonsense is being claimed about it.

Let’s tackle the big question first: If the 172 rebels in the Parliamentary Labour Party manage to keep Jeremy Corbyn’s name off a future leadership election ballot paper, then it won’t be a democratic election and the best result they’ll be able to expect is a split in the party, the loss of hundreds of thousands of members and a significant proportion of their trade union backing (as TU members vote to cut off the MPs they will say betrayed Labour).

Supporters of the 172 have dredged up an argument from the 1980s, when Tony Benn challenged Neil Kinnock, but it isn’t a part of the party’s rules. They say that an incumbent leader is entitled to stand in a leadership election without seeking the support of MPs.

It seems to This Writer that the current situation provides a perfect example of the reason for that: Democracy.

The majority of the party membership still want Jeremy Corbyn as leader, because they consider him to be the only one with policies they support. The 172 are too far to the right wing of politics and have had two failed chances to win general elections with policies that were too similar to those of the Conservatives.

But the majority of the party membership don’t get to provide signatures in support of candidates, to get them on leadership ballot papers.

In order for the grassroots members to be represented, a leader they have already supported must be allowed to stand for re-election.

Concerns about a leadership election are probably meaningless in any case, as the 172 seem likely to leave Jeremy Corbyn to stew for at least a short period – as he let them stew and flounder after the attempted coup last week.

Such a period of silence will allow their agent provocateurs, on TV and in the press, to spread uncertainty about Mr Corbyn. Already they are claiming he is not as popular as he was last year (in fact, it seems he is more popular, with thousands of people joining the Labour Party simply so they can vote for him and the policy platform he represents).

And we will see more preposterous stories like those we’ve had over the last couple of days – the ‘anti-Semitism’ claim of Ruth Smeeth, the ‘lunge’ claim put forward in the Torygraph and denied by the alleged victim, and the ‘attempted resignation’ of new Shadow Cabinet members that has been denied by Andy Burnham and several of the other MPs who were allegedly involved. The latter was mentioned on Andrew Neil’s Sunday Politics, despite having been thoroughly debunked, with not a single voice raised in contradiction.

The only response is for Labour members to make their voices heard. Already we’ve had rallies in support of Mr Corbyn, while constituency Labour parties and regional Labour groups have stated their support.

The 172 and their supporters will be hoping that, if they delay any action long enough, people will lose interest and support for Mr Corbyn will drop off. It is important for democracy that they must be proved wrong.

Do we really want to tell the world that democracy only works until people get bored? Of course not.

So perhaps it is time for another option to come into play.

If members of the 172 continue to dither, perhaps their local CLPs should consider voting on whether they should be allowed to continue as Labour representatives.

  • They don’t represent policies supported by the majority of Labour members.
  • They are trying to prevent Labour members from making their views clear in a democratic leadership election.
  • And they are actively sabotaging Labour’s effectiveness as a Parliamentary political movement by obstructing party business.

In these extraordinary circumstances, it seems reasonable for CLPs to review their support for those MPs, with a view either to having the Labour whip withdrawn or indeed expelling those MPs from the Labour Party altogether. Dead weight is worthless.

It is entirely possible that there’s nothing in the rule book to permit such action. That’s fine – it’s an extraordinary situation. That doesn’t mean CLP members can’t vote for it.

Even those constituencies that don’t have Labour MPs can support such moves.

So, Labour members, it’s up to you. What do you want to do?

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27 thoughts on “Jeremy Corbyn has taken back the initiative. His supporters must not let him down

  1. Elspeth Parris

    I think it’s vital that the CLP should meet. I also think we need an end to the system of CLPs being run by delegates who’ve lost touch with the growing membership. That, I would suggest, is how we’ve ended up with a PLP who don’t relate to the membership.

  2. marki

    Murdoch is the king maker and king breaker, they know he can topple any one of them, they fear he will topple Corbyn, so they are on Murdoch’s side, lap dogs. Further they know if there is a push for a War Crimes trial it will get ugly for Corbyn. No-one has dared take on the military-industrial-complex and survived since JFK, and this George Howarth ain’t going to either, nor are any of the other 171 chickencoupers. They’ve seen what happens to David Kellys. Buscheney Inc. are very dirty players with deep CIA ties, they aren’t going to have Blair in the Hague nor any other Court, cause they’ld be next. There’ld be a War with Russia first, or some other massive distraction,..and everyone would forget, like this report coming out fifteen years after 9/11..

    Whats the next football game?

  3. hayfords

    There seems to be a growing number of Labour MPs that are saying that Corbyn needs to get enough support to get on the ballot. Prescott was calling for that this morning. On that basis JC is unlikely to be part of a new vote. That probably applies to McDonnell as well. If that is the case then it will be open season with multiple candidates such as Benn, Cooper, Burnham etc.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      If he isn’t on the ballot paper, it won’t be a democratic election as the wishes of the membership at large will have been ignored.
      Nobody wants that to happen!
      Prescott wasn’t calling for that this morning.

      1. Iris

        It would be above board according to Labour party rules, Mike. Which is what I thought you were all about, or thought you were based on articles on this blog.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        No, the rule is that the incumbent appears on the ballot paper if he hasn’t stood down.

      3. Mike Sivier Post author

        Right then:
        The current rules 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.

      4. Mike Sivier Post author

        Oh, I stand corrected.
        But of course Prescott has admitted he hasn’t read the legal arguments.

  4. Billie Dale Wakefield

    I want it to be over – to the ‘rebels’ I say put up or shut up. What are you afraid of? If you were right then you should not fear, if you are wrong you should. The answer may not be what you want.

  5. Pete Lumb

    Good challenge. I have written to my Labour MP in a very friendly and polite way but he is too busy backstabbing to reply. I think I need to find out who my constituency chairman is but this is not easy (!!!) There does not seem to be a way of contacting other local members either. Mike if any of your readers can help or advise me I am grateful. Always read you mate. P.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Who’s your backstabbing MP?
      If you’re a Labour member, your membership card should have the CLP secretary’s contact details on the back. The secretary will be able to help you connect with your branch and your CLP officers.

  6. Rupert Mitchell (@rupert_rrl)

    I should like to see those 172 self-profit-seeking blue labour deserters sacked as soon as possible. They have already jeopardised a win for Labour in the next election by their selfish actions and we should not tolerate their underhand attempts to reject Jeremy Corbyn as the leader that the vast majority of Labour members want.

    The party is better off without them and if they want to go off and rejoin blue labour, or possibly even the Conservatives, or form some other activity then good riddance!

    We must keep up the support for Jeremy as no doubt the deserters will be doing their best behind the scenes to damage him.

  7. Ted Alleyne

    A no confidence motion would be entirely within party rules. Sauce for the goose….

  8. Iris

    I wonder if Mr Corby even knows what’s really going on. He seems to have cut himself off (or has been cut off) and is refusing to see or speak to people. Which sounds kind of like a “bunker mentality” which is never good and normally indicates that a leader’s time is near to its end.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      He hasn’t cut himself off at all.
      You are choosing to believe falsehoods in the press that were debunked on the day they were published.

      1. Iris

        Then where is he, Mike. The media and especially the television companies all want to speak to him and interview him about what’s going on. Why doesn’t he appear on Newsnight, Andrew Marr, Daily Politics or similar. Why doesn’t he want to have his say, not before the already converted, but before a general audience that won’t be applauding or hanging on his every word.

        Where is the man?

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        Where were these TV companies during the EU referendum campaign? They didn’t want to know until after David Cameron had realised he was harming ‘Remain’.
        And what will they ask him if he does grant an interview? “When are you going to quit?” That’s not reasonable, balanced reporting.
        He’ll talk to them when he’s got something to say.

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