Labour MPs prepare for leadership contest after Corbyn loses confidence vote
Of the 172 MP's who voted in favour of the "No confidence" in Jeremy Corbyn motion in yesterdays (28th June) vote, not all were from the "Blairite" rump of our party. Some were from the centre and a few from what is described as the left. This fact has been seized upon by the television and media, with the same eagerness as a starving man would grasp a crust of bread. The coverage of the result of the "No confidence" motion, on BBC Television news and on the Sky News programme, was clearly bent towards their long standing drive to remove Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour leadership and to further this ambition, our screens were filled with a stream of anti Corbyn figures, including David Blunkett, Alistair Campbell, Jack Straw, Chris Bryant and a few others, all repeating the well scripted line that "Jeremy is a decent man and will hopefully do the right thing for the party and resign". In a departure from the scripted text however, Alastair Campbell had the outrageous conceit to state that "Jeremy Corbyn is destroying the Labour party". Coming from the person who, along with Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson, created the grotesque "New Labour" to further their own ambitions, abandoning ordinary people to the "markets" and business interests and thereby destroying everything that the Labour party had once stood for, the remark was itself crass and hypocritical. However, in order to achieve at least a veneer of balance, both channels had a sprinkling of new shadow cabinet members and Trade Union people to support Corbyn and the party leadership, albeit that the interviewer tried their best to promote the "Corbyn should go shouldn't he" media line.
A common link between those MP's supporting the no confidence motion, goes back even before the leadership election of last year. The simple fact is that none of the 172 actually wanted Jeremy Corbyn to be the leader in any case, their support in the election being spread between Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper. Corbyn was the "token" candidate of the Left. The candidate on the ballot paper to show that the PLP was offering a balanced list, where in fact it was no more than a cynical ploy to maintain their own comfortable "status quo" of a centre right cabal. The mounting fear during the campaign that Corbyn might in fact win, turned to stunned dis belief when on the first ballot, Corbyn received 60% of the vote. The realisation that they now had a leader that only a minority of the PLP actually wanted, persuaded many of them to join the growing coup plot which had been hatched even before the election result was declared. The "Anyone but Corbyn" or the "Stop Corbyn" campaigns in addition to the unofficial smear and sniping from backbench MP's encouraged and orchestrated by a hostile media, grew in intensity fuelled by Dankzuc, Hunt, Johnson, Brown, Kinnock, Mann and others, with some openly stating that in the event that Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour party, they would launch a coup to remove him from the leadership "within days".
Yesterdays vote of no confidence, was the culmination of that coup. The expectation amongst the conspirators, was that following the result, Jeremy Corbyn would succumb to the intimidation of the PLP, (something that the PLP are very good at, intimidating anyone who dares to oppose their collective view on any subject) and resign immediately, leaving them free to have their "coronation" of which ever candidate they could agree on, but without the pressure of having a leadership election which they feared. It is strange how the democratic process can instil such dread in people who claim to be democrats, supporting the will of the electorate. In this case, they have again miscalculated the mood and the reality of the main players in this drama. Firstly, their arch enemy (the reality, no matter what these two faced hypocrites may say publicly) has refused to resign. Corbyn has invoked the party rules stating that to remove an incumbent leader, there must be a leadership challenge from a candidate with at least 50 nominations from MP's or MEP's. Secondly, the coup organisers seemed to have expected a large proportion of Corbyn supporters in the party membership, to have softened their stance, a proposition that the conspirators are telling media at every opportunity. Again they are wrong and must be rather worried at the support on social media, in the press and at rallies around the country in support of Corbyn and highly critical of the coup and its organisers. It also seems that a number of the 172 MP's are now worried that they could face de-selection by their Constituency parties.
It is now inevitable that a leadership election will be held on a time-scale drawn up by the National Executive Committee of the Labour party. The problem for the PLP is that should the Labour party members re elect Jeremy Corbyn as party leader, the coup organisers will be back in the same position as they were last week. The question for them is where do they go from there?