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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Does Corbyn hitlist show Labour as irrevocably divided?

It is a fact that until the revolt by the Parliamentary Labour Party against Jeremy Corbyn's leadership the official opposition were neck and neck with the Conservatives in the polls.

This does not mean that Corbyn was doing particularly well or that the Labour Party were in a position to win a General Election but it did provide some comfort to those who had placed their faith in Corbyn as leader.

The dramatic decline in the Labour Party's standing in public opinion since then is almost certainly down to the perception that the party is split down the middle and fighting amongst itself instead of doing the job it was elected to do of opposing the government.

This perception is far too close to the truth for Labour's comfort, but those who care about these things will no doubt be hoping that once the leadership is sorted then everything will settle down and they can make up lost ground. That though, is not going to happen whilst the likely winner, Jeremy Corbyn persists in picking at open wounds.

Most Labour MPs now face the threat of mandatory reselection for no other reason than the extraordinary rewriting of Parliamentary boundaries which will hit their party hard. Then, on top of that, we have Jeremy Corbyn's own hitlist of Labour MPs who have got under his skin.

The Guardian reports that the leader's campaign team has issued a list singling out 14 Labour MPs, including deputy leader Tom Watson, whom it claims have abused the leader and his allies. This has triggered an entirely new row in the party:

Corbyn’s team said the list was sent out by mistake by a junior staff member, but the leader later appeared to stand by the substance of the allegations, saying all the remarks had been made on the record.

In the release, Owen Smith, the challenger for the Labour leadership, was accused of being the “real disunity candidate”, who has failed to tackle abuse meted out by his own supporters.

The list, obtained by Press Association, highlighted the behaviour of a number of Labour MPs, including Jess Phillips for telling Corbyn’s ally Diane Abbott to “fuck off”, John Woodcock for dismissing the party leader as a “fucking disaster” and Tristram Hunt for describing Labour as “in the shit”.

Watson was highlighted for calling the grassroots Corbyn campaign Momentum a “rabble”.

This is no way to bring the Labour Party back together after a bruising leadership contest and calls into question Corbyn's ability to do so. More to the point it suggests that if Corbyn is re-elected then a bloodletting will ensue which could rip the Labour Party apart permanently.
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