.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Friday, March 03, 2017

The silent revolt within Labour over Corbyn and Brexit

Whether or not there is a soft coup underway in the Labour Party as alleged by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, there is no doubting that the official opposition is facing a crisis.

Not only are Labour trailing badly in the polls, with Jeremy Corbyn consistently scoring historically poor approval ratings, but they are also losing local council by-elections and have become the first opposition party to lose a Parliamentary seat to the Government since 1982.

But there is a more potent trend that underlines the crisis facing Labour. That is the steady loss of members. According to the Guardian, Labour has lost nearly 26,000 members since last summer:

More than three-quarters of those to leave the party last year had joined after the 2015 general election, a period that saw membership grow rapidly under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

Figures reported by the Times showed the number of resignations in 2016 was more than the previous six years combined, while more than 15,465 have left since mid-December.

Up to 7,000 members are said to have resigned last month following Corbyn’s three-line whip on MPs commanding them to support the triggering of Article 50.

The newspaper said the numbers leaving the party could be even higher, as Labour’s systems record active resignations in real time but lapsed memberships appear in the data only after six months.

At the same time, the membership of the only UK-wide party to oppose Brexit, the Liberal Democrats, has grown to record numbers, many of those new members coming from Labour. And figures have shown that Labour raised less money through donations than the Liberal Democrats in the last three months of last year.

This is the first time that the Liberal Democrats have outstripped Labour in fundraising over a quarter, taking in donations totalling £1,972,904 compared with £1,970,055 for Corbyn’s party.
I see that Labour lost a council seat to the Conservatives in the city of Salford yesterday. This is in a parliamentary constituency (Salford and Eccles) next-door-but-one to the late Gerald Kaufman's Manchester Gorton, and currently held by Rebecca Long-Bailey one of the "rising stars" of the party.

Resignations are one thing, but the papers are reporting that significant numbers of Labour members are not renewing their membership of the party and these lapsed members are not showing up in these figures so the situation is even worse than the published figures show.
Could a Manchester Gorton by-election be used as a back door for someone like David Milliband to make a leadership bid?

I sense a great shift in sentiment since the Brexit bill, even among Corbyn supporters some of which seem to hold him responsible. Polls are indicating a disastrous local elections result in May for Labour. Seven years into a Tory government, when the opposition should be cleaning up they are likely to be losing seats to both the Lib Dems and the Tories.

I cannot see him continuing after that, even if he is stubborn/selfish enough to hold on, a half decent challenge would defeat him at that stage.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?