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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Will Labour MPs set up their own party if Corbyn wins?

The Telegraph speculates that senior Labour rebels are so convinced that Jeremy Corbyn will win the leadership contest that they are planning to elect their own leader and launch a legal challenge for the party's name.

They say that leading moderates are looking at plans to set up their own “alternative Labour” in a “semi-split” of the party if Corbyn remains in post. This would involve them creating their own shadow cabinet and even electing a leader within Parliament to rival the official Labour front bench, from which they could take on the Tories.

The paper says that the rebel group are considering going through the courts to get the right to use Labour’s name and assets including property owned by the party across the country. They would also approach John Bercow, the Commons Speaker, and argue that having more MPs than Corbyn means they should be named the official opposition.

All this sounds very far-fetched, especially the involvement of the courts. If the judgement on Corbyn's candidacy is any measure then it is unlikely that the judiciary will want to get involved.

This grouping is clearly not an SDP mark two or even the beginnings of the left of centre alliance that Paddy Ashdown is focused on creating. Their purpose is to reclaim the Labour Party, but can they do that without the membership behind them?

The chances are that this will be a short-lived group, a head without a body, which will be swept away at the next General Election. Their actions though could make Labour even more unelectable and guarantee a Tory majority government for a generation.
What would be the pitch for this new group? Perhaps "for years Neil Kinnock, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown worked to rid the party of burdensome philosophy and give it broad appeal. Don't ruin it now by introducing socialism"?

The only real winners here are the Conservatives.

The inevitable Corbyn victory in September will in all probability usher in an extended period of Labour party in-fighting. It will be the MPs versus ordinary members, activists, Corbynistas and Trade Unionists. If MPs still want to create havoc, then by 2020, there will effectively be two Labour parties fighting each other in each and every constituency.

So - I'm preparing myself for at least 15 to 20 years of traditional, old-fashioned, anti-working class, anti-immigrant, centralised, anti-Welsh devolution, pro-Thatcherite, right-wing, Brexiteer Tory policies coming from Westminster.

If this happens .. I warn you not to be ordinary. I warn you not to be young. I warn you not to fall ill. And I warn you not to grow old...
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