At a time when the country is facing its biggest political crisis in a generation, we should have a united Labour party to hold the government to account as it negotiates a withdrawal from the EU. Instead, we have self-obsessed MPs who are so far removed from the lives of ordinary people that they feel this is the right time to play political games. There could be no worse time.
Jeremy Corbyn has a huge mandate from Labour party members having won a stunning 60% of first preference votes in the leadership election just last September. At best, the organised coup against him is undemocratic. At worst, it is outright treachery.
Corbyn’s scepticism about the EU reflects the genuine concerns many of us feel towards the institution, and I write that as someone who voted to remain. There’s no question that the EU is undemocratic and remote. Many remainers shared that view.
Corbyn’s nuanced approach on the EU was far better and more effective than the message from most Labour MPs. And it is remarkable that many of the Labour MPs who are gunning for Corbyn failed to convince their own electorate to vote remain. The constituents of Margaret Hodge, one of the MPs who kickstarted the coup, voted 62% in favour of Leave. Why is there no vote of no confidence from the MPs in Hodge?
They are using a moment of crisis in the country to knife a democratically elected leader in the back. It’s not about Europe at all. This has been planned and orchestrated for months. Party members and trade unionists alike will be gobsmacked that at a time of political and economic turmoil, where the government have failed to plan for the outcome of a leave vote, that Labour MPs are participating in a naval gazing masterclass.
Most galling of all has been the slow drip of resignations in order to maximise damage to the party. It is a wrecking tactic from people who claim, wrongly, they are acting in the best interests of the party.
If there is a leadership election, Corbyn will be on the ballot and he will likely win again. All this coup will have achieved is further damage the Labour party’s chances of winning the next election and further damage to the reputation of professional politicians.
Instead of this, Labour should be setting out demands to protect jobs, public services and our rights during Brexit. That message should be taken into the areas where millions voted to Leave. The truth is that Jeremy Corbyn is best placed to do that. He has the full support of the Fire Brigades Union.
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