15 Jan Andrew Marr aftershow breakfast
Interesting morning on the Andrew Marr show with Paul Waugh, executive editor of the Huffington Post, Ayesha Hazarika, former Labour advisor, Jeremy Corbyn, actor Timothy Spall and Minister James Brokenshire. The show’s great, the after show breakfast and conversation fascinating!
During breakfast, the conversation moved quickly to the headache Tristram Hunt has created for Labour by causing a second by-election in a month, coming as it does hot on the heals of Jamie Reed, MP for Copeland, announcing he’ll be standing down as a Labour MP and leaving Parliament imminently. Could this steady stream of resignations be the Labour moderates latest strategy to destabilise and topple Corbyn?
They tried to remove Jeremy Corbyn as leader with a second leadership contest which didn’t work, Jeremy winning with a larger mandate and further increasing the Labour Party membership with members sympathetic to him. This surge in Corbynista members has for example led to Wallasey MP and one-time Corbyn challenger Angela Eagle being fearful she’d lose her Wallasey seat and setting the tone for any other unruly Labour MPs thinking of challenging their leader.
Moderates had also tried to destabilise Jeremy by doing a mass Shadow Minister walkout – 40 Ministers resigning in 48 hours – which is unheard of, but Jeremy stayed put, and it was after this protest the second leadership campaign took place.
Now it appears moderate MPs have stumbled on the ‘let’s leave him to it’ strategy choosing to jump ship knowing this will lead to a running sore of bad news headlines that Labour MPs don’t want to be in the Party with Jeremy at the top, seeing no future for themselves or a Labour Party with him as leader. It’s a dangerous strategy for their colleagues and the Labour MPs they leave behind. It may be that they want to create by-elections that Labour are likely to lose to show how Labour can’t win elections with Corbyn as leader in a Kamikaze approach, and think that is the only way to get rid of him as leader.
With Tristram getting a significant public sector job on £1/4m per year salary, and Jamie Reed taking a senior post in the nuclear industry, there could well be a stampede of Labour MPs leaving the House not wanting to be the last to leave especially if they see their seat disappearing in boundary changes or Jeremy not increasing his ratings in the polls and doomed to election defeat.
2016 was an extraordinary year for politics. My prediction is that you ain’t seen nothing yet …. 2017 will be even more extraordinary!