Based on his record as leader of Labour’s ‘In for Britain’ campaign in the lead-up to the EU referendum, Alan Johnson should spend the next few months turning up to Parliament, voting according to party policy, and keeping his mouth shut.
Nobody is interested in his opinions on Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership after his spectacular failure to get any news coverage of Labour’s campaign. It didn’t get any traction until Mr Corbyn himself took an active role.
Eventually, two-thirds of Labour voters and supporters voted ‘Remain’ – but a failure of Conservative supporters to do the same resulted in a wafer-thin majority for leaving the EU.
That doesn’t mean Mr Corbyn’s leadership was at fault. His supporters have had to keep reiterating this throughout the summer as it was the main pretext for the so-called ‘Chicken Coup’ by members of the Parliamentary Labour Party, most of whom were afraid to admit they were involved, in case their own party members punished them in some undefined way.
(The claim that Mr Corbyn’s conduct during the EU referendum campaign was the reason for the rebellion is false, by the way. The coup was planned at least as long ago as April, and probably as far back as his election as Labour leader in September 2015.)
As for Jon Cryer’s complaint about the shadow cabinet reshuffle – could anybody be more completely wrong?
Nobody was “kept in the dark” about it. Mr Corbyn made it perfectly clear that a reshuffle would take place after he was re-elected as Labour leader, and that it would take place in the week after the Labour conference.
The reshuffle doesn’t mean the possibility of shadow cabinet elections is off the table. At the same time as we all heard there would be a ShadCab reshuffle, we were told there would be a National Executive Committee “away day” to discuss several democratic reforms, including this.
So we’ve got one Corbyn critic saying he doesn’t show leadership, and another saying his leadership is too strong.
They clearly can’t get their story straight.
Perhaps they should stop trying to concoct fiction and go back to being Labour MPs.
Alan Johnson, the former Labour home secretary, has insisted that Jeremy Corbyn is not up to being opposition leader, as the party enters fresh infighting after a shadow cabinet shakeup.
Johnson’s damning assessment came as the chairman of the parliamentary party, John Cryer, condemned Corbyn’s changes to his senior team.
When it was put to Johnson by the BBC that he believed Corbyn was not up to the job of being leader, he said: “Me and many of my colleagues. Perhaps he’ll prove me wrong.”
As the backlash against Corbyn’s reshuffle intensified, Cryer complained that he and the sacked chief whip Rosie Winterton had been kept in the dark about the move, despite having held talks with the leadership about having some of the shadow cabinet posts elected by MPs.
The shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry, defended Corbyn, saying it was wrong to criticise him for being too decisive and insisting the issue of elected posts was still on the table.
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