The restoration of shadow cabinet elections seems an appallingly mistimed idea, even if it is being proposed by well-intentioned supporters.
If such elections were reinstated, Mr Corbyn’s detractors in the Parliamentary Labour Party would do their best to ensure that positions went to MPs who would hinder his policies at every possible opportunity – against the wishes of the majority of Labour Party members.
It would be a victory for the selfishness of a very few MPs over the needs of the United Kingdom, but that won’t matter to them.
This Writer can foresee a time when it will be possible to reinstate shadow cabinet elections, but it isn’t now.
Labour’s wider membership is incensed at the behaviour of the 170-odd MPs who have forced an unnecessary leadership election on the party when they should have been uniting to attack a weakened Conservative Party.
Members in constituency parties across the country are demanding the opportunity to release their current MPs from any opportunity to stand as candidates in the future – and to choose candidates for the next general election from their own membership.
It seems likely that only after such procedures have been carried out and a new intake of MPs is elected – people who are likely to agree with Mr Corbyn’s principles (which are, after all, the principles of the Labour Party) – it will be possible to elect a shadow cabinet that supports the current aims of the party and its leader.
Alternatively, perhaps any shadow cabinet election should be opened up to the membership, in the same way as leader elections and elections to the National Executive Committee.
Does anybody have the stamina for that?
Jeremy Corbyn is to face a formal call to reintroduce elections to the shadow cabinet when a motion is put to the parliamentary party on Monday.
Clive Betts, the MP for Sheffield South East, proposed the suggestion, which supporters hope could be approved and sent forward to the party’s conference this month.
The motion is being presented by supporters as a way of healing the party after a damaging leadership contest, which Corbyn is favourite to win.
Corbyn’s allies have previously suggested that any such move would be a way of boxing in the leader to ensure that the so-called right of the party controls the shadow cabinet.
The likelihood of any such change remains remote, however, because it would require the agreement of the national executive committee and the party conference as well as two-thirds of Labour MPs.
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