June 26, 2016


Labour crisis: how the coup against Jeremy Corbyn gathered pace (Rowena Mason and Anushka Asthana, 26 June 2016, The Guardian)

The fireworks began at 9.59pm on Saturday when an article outing Hilary Benn as the chief plotter against Jeremy Corbyn was published by the Observer.

The Labour leader's aides scrambled on to a conference call to work out a plan to deal with the rebellion. It did not take long for Benn to be bombarded with a stream of messages from Katy Clark, Corbyn's political secretary, asking him about the truth of the story.

Shortly afterwards, Corbyn texted his shadow foreign secretary, the son of his political hero Tony Benn, directly to ask if they could speak.

During that calm call, Benn told his boss that he no longer had confidence in him to lead the Labour party and could not continue to serve in the shadow cabinet under him. The only thing he denied was having leaked details of the insurrection to the Observer. Corbyn sacked him straightaway.

It had not unfolded as either the plotters or the leadership team had expected, even though a small group of Labour MPs and advisers had been telling journalists for months to "expect movement" against Corbyn on 24 June.

Their plans had been based on the assumption that the UK would vote to remain, and hopes were not high that an overwhelming number of MPs would back a coup or that ousting him would be successful.

But Brexit changed the whole calculation, as many Labour MPs woke up on Friday furious with what they saw as Corbyn's lacklustre campaigning for remain and refusal to address the concerns of voters about immigration.

The ire was compounded by fear that huge numbers of Labour MPs would lose their seats if they fought a snap general election under Corbyn. By the end of Friday, several separate groups of MPs were involved in moves to get rid of their leader.

...failure to pretend passion for the EU is the least of his shortcomings.

Posted by at June 26, 2016 5:59 PM