MPs’ rebellion could ruin Labour as Tories take advantage

Cosmetic: Angela Eagle's campaign launch was compared with attempts to sell cosmetic products on TV channels like QVC. Media representatives left the meeting, leaving an awkward silence when Ms Eagle called for questions.
Cosmetic: Angela Eagle’s campaign launch was compared with attempts to sell cosmetic products on TV channels like QVC. Media representatives left the meeting, leaving an awkward silence when Ms Eagle called for questions.

What a difference a day makes.

This morning, we all woke up in the expectation that lengthy leadership election campaigns were likely to start among both main UK political parties, with the Conservative membership being asked to choose between Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom, and Angela Eagle challenging Jeremy Corbyn for the leadership of Labour.

By lunchtime, the Conservative leadership was in the process of being passed to Theresa May – placing Labour in considerable difficulty.

We know – don’t we? – that politicians plan their strategies quite far in advance; the Labour coup – now irrevocably labelled the ‘Chicken Coup’ because of the cowardice of its orchestrators – was initiated shortly after Jeremy Corbyn won the party leadership last September. It is possible that the Blairite ringleaders chose to act after the EU referendum in the belief that a ‘Remain’ vote would result in a stable Conservative leadership with David Cameron at the top and a ‘Leave’ vote would spark a protracted leadership battle in the Tory government – leaving them with plenty of time to attack and topple Jeremy Corbyn.

What if Theresa May calls a general election immediately after she has been installed as prime minister, later this week?

She would have two very good reasons for doing so. Firstly, the result of the 2015 general election is in doubt because more than 30 Conservative MPs are under investigation for electoral fraud; a new election, policed to ensure no such… let’s call them ‘mistakes’… happen again, is likely to produce a strong and unquestionable Conservative majority.

Secondly, the reason it is likely to produce a Tory majority is the disarray created in the Labour Party by the anti-democratic behaviour of the MPs who have been trying to topple Mr Corbyn. Thanks to their blundering, Labour has tumbled in the polls from parity with the Tories to almost 10 points behind; constituency parties are split, with many passing votes of ‘no confidence’ in MPs who have been revealed to have backed the plot against the leader; and the party is now tied into a lengthy leadership battle between Mr Corbyn and Angela Eagle, with the possibility of Owen Smith jumping in as well.

Labour is in no fit state to fight a general election and it is entirely due to the actions of Hilary Benn, Angela Eagle, Owen Smith, Tom Watson, Margaret Hodge, Anne Coffey, Tessa Jowell and their cronies.

It is rumoured that Ms Leadsom was bullied into quitting the Tory leadership race after her inappropriate comments about motherhood over the weekend, but it seems far more likely the party’s leaders saw an opportunity to ruin Labour for years to come and ordered her to fall on her metaphorical sword for the greater good of the One Per Cent.

One can’t help but wonder whether her comment – that the support of just 25 per cent of Conservative MPs wasn’t enough to justify a continued challenge – was a direct dig at Mr Corbyn, who has the support of only 20 per cent of Labour MPs after the ‘no confidence’ vote two weeks ago.

Labour’s National Executive Committee is meeting tomorrow (Tuesday), we’re told, to deliver a definitive answer over whether Mr Corbyn needs the support of more than 50 MPs and MEPs to appear on the ballot paper. The simple answer is, he doesn’t. The rule book is very clear. But Shylocks among the mutineers have insisted that this non-issue be tackled and are hoping their shills on the NEC will deliver the result they want.

Then Owen Smith can join the leadership battle with only Angela Eagle opposing him – while the vast majority of Labour members leave the party in disgust, along with the trade unions, weakening Labour critically.

Apparently these people – who claim to be campaigning for “unity” and to “heal” the party – are quite happy to push it to the point of death in pursuance of their goal.

But then, what else can we expect from them? Even a cursory glance at their records will tell us everything we need to know.

For Ms Eagle, there’s this:

160708 Angela Eagle

The Eagle Has Floundered, in any case. The launch of her leadership campaign was a PR disaster, with many describing the setting, and Ms Eagle herself, as appearing to be an advert for cosmetic products. Her Twitter campaign calling for people to tweet their support met with 20,000 responses that were – well, see for yourself:

160711 Eagle tweets

Even her signature has come under criticism, with some commenting: “I’m with Aargh?”

As for Owen Smith, he wants to privatise the National Health Service (seriously!), supports Trident and lobbied for Pfizer which is a client of Portland Communications, the PR firm that has been implicated in smear stories launched by ‘coup’ supporters against Mr Corbyn. Oh, and this is quite damning, for someone who was Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary…

The only upside – and it’s a really tiny glimmer of light in the gloom that faces Labour members and supporters – is that almost all, if not all – of the MPs who stabbed Jeremy Corbyn in the back are likely to lose their Parliamentary seats if an early general election is called.

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6 Thoughts to “MPs’ rebellion could ruin Labour as Tories take advantage”

  1. The lack of democracy with the 172 MP’s of the PLP is unbelievable ,in the whole of the party there is only one person the public
    might vote to win a general election and they want him Out ! Try asking Ed balls how well it work’s out when you go against public opinion
    Not forgetting that was before Mr Corbin increased the membership to 600’000 approx

  2. John Wellington

    Great article but remove the word “Shylocks” – this just plays to the anti semitism claims.

    1. Mike Sivier

      Nothing to do with anti-Semitism; everything to do with corruption of lawyers.

  3. Tim

    Erm. If Angela Eagle is as bad as you say, Mike, why did Jeremy Corbyn choose to make her Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and then Shadow First Secretary of State in his shadow cabinet?

    1. Mike Sivier

      His original cabinet was an attempt at a “cabinet of all the talents”, including MPs from all sides of Labour.

  4. Jessie

    It was obvious to me that the regular comments about a leader needing the support of their party’s MPs was a clear dig at Labour; along with the Labour mutineers, with whom there seems to some accord of purpose. An opposition? No. Not when they’ve the same basic message.

    We can easily suspect that Andrea Loathsome was nudged to stand aside to give the Tories this big advantage, while their corporate-serving Portland counterparts do the rest.

    Have just been seeing Margaret Hodge on BBC news (who in their every report are almost crowing in Tory triumph about it all), with just the same stuff about how a leader of the Labour party needs the support of their MPs, along with anecdotal reports of Corbyn support fading among the membership. Not around here it isn’t. In fact, his support grows in proportion to the anger and outrage about each boot they try to put into him.

    MH saying how Eagle gave such a forceful performance, which must have been a different event to anything I’ve seen. All Eagle is doing is keep repeating that she’s bringing unity, when she’s doing exactly the opposite, and avoiding giving any actual policies.

    What these cowardly mutineers are doing is simply wickedness, and, yes, if they do succeed then Labour is finished, and there will be nothing to stop us living in an extreme right-wing regime.

    Compare how everything the mutineers say being found to be a dirty lie, to Jeremy Corbyn, with everything about him true and genuine.

    At the least, every so-called Labour MP acting against democracy in this way, and so wanting to removing our hope of a better politics, should be deselected by their members.

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