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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Will Labour enter into its own civil war in the wake of half-hearted referendum effort?

I woke up this morning to the news that Hilary Benn has been sacked amid claims he was encouraging ministers to resign should Jeremy Corbyn ignore a vote of no confidence.

The BBC quotes a Labour source that Mr Corbyn had "lost confidence" in Mr Benn after the Shadow Foreign Secretary said there was "widespread concern" about Mr Corbyn's "leadership and his ability to win an election".

We are now hearing that up to half the Labour Shadow Cabinet may resign if Jeremy Corbyn does not accept the verdict of the Parliamentary Labour Party in a no confidence vote tomorrow. As I write the Press Association has announced that Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has also resigned from Jeremy Corbyn's shadow cabinet

The division between Labour's grass roots and the MPs has never been so stark. Corbyn has said he will stand again in any contest forced upon him. The chances are he will win again.

Where does that leave the people whose job it is to represent the Labour Party day-in, day-out in Parliament and in the media?

How can they continue to do that job and hold the government to account for its actions whilst they are estranged from their party's leadership?

The Conservative and Labour Parties are each coalitions in their own right. The way that these coalitions are falling apart highlights the weaknesses of our electoral system.

Under a properly proportional system these divisions would resolve themselves with the various factions forming separate parties and coalescing with like-minded groups to form a government.

Under first past the post that is nigh on impossible.

The referendum result has done more than divide the country, it has also fractured the political establishment, possibly beyond repair.
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