UK Labour ‘chaos’

More from Missy in the UK.


This morning the UK woke up to some of the media discussing the ‘chaos’ of yesterday at the Labour Party Conference with the media focussing on the allegation that the Shadow Defence Minister (sorry not Secretary as I reported yesterday) punched a wall in anger after he gave his speech in response to it being changed at the last minute by Corbyn’s aides (as reported yesterday) .

Corbyn this morning cancelled all of his media appearances for today, officially due to diary management issues, but speculation is rife that the real reason is so that he isn’t questioned about yesterday, and in particular Trident.

Yesterday it was announced that Labour’s policy for energy will be to completely ban fracking – this is in opposition to the unions who say many of their members will lose jobs, today the replacement policy was announced. Corbyn has indicated that under Labour the UK will return to coal mining – presumably to return to coal fired energy. Nothing reported as yet on how the environmentalists see this, nor has it been explained how this will be de-conflicted with Labour’s stated clean air policy.

McDonnell yesterday indicated that if Labour were to win the next election there would be a return to 70’s style socialist economic policies. This combined with the idea of returning to coal mining has some in the media talking about a return to the past under Labour.

Today has been no less eventful, so just some highlights below.

Sadiq Khan addressed the conference, I won’t go into the details, but the gist of his speech was how he is the most successful Labour politician at the moment, and the party need to follow his lead to become electable.

The NEC voted on whether to allow representatives from Scotland and Wales Labour Parties to join the committee, this is opposed by Corbyn and his supporters as it is seen as potentially reducing Corbyn’s power in the NEC, as he fears that the Welsh First Minister (Labour) and the Scottish Labour leader will choose moderates, thus diluting and reducing his already small majority. This move is part of reforms by the respective Labour parties which will give them greater autonomy in having an independent voice on the NEC. The vote went in favour of the reforms, and the Scottish and Welsh Labour parties will now be able to have a representative on the NEC.

Labour has provided their support to a referendum on the terms of Brexit. This is seen by some as a concession to Owen Smith who supports a second referendum on the EU. This will not be popular amongst many voters, nor is it a policy that they will have to follow through on, as Brexit is expected to be pretty much completed (if not fully completed) by the time the next General Election rolls around in just over 3 years.

Tom Watson addressed the party this afternoon, and in it he launched a passionate defence of Blair and Brown – something that won’t go down well with Corbyn or his supporters, who hate Blair and Brown.

UK update – Labour and Conservatives

Missy’s UK update on the Labour and Conservative parties.


Labour:

The Labour party seem to have come to a bit of a stalemate. Tom Watson met with one union this morning, and has been on the phone with other union leaders, and with two unions having their annual conference later this week, the support (or not) of Corbyn will be one of the things discussed. Corbyn is reportedly losing support in the Unions, and leadership is going to take into account members views before deciding on supporting Corbyn or not.

I don’t know much about the UK unions, or those involved, so the names and people are a little lost on me, but here is an article about the Union threat to Corbyn’s leadership.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/jeremy-corbyn-faces-threat-from-key-union-as-he-clings-to-power-a3288181.html

Corbin’s supporters are reportedly hoping he will hold on until summer recess, and then it will all just go away over summer. Not sure that will happen, but interesting to see if it works as a strategy.

A leading academic has said that if Corbyn remains leader then the Labour Party is almost certain to split – hmmm… I am sure I said something similar a week and a bit ago.

Conservatives:

Conservative leadership candidates did the hustings in front of the MP’s last night, and though no media were allowed in, a source has told media that Andrea Leadsom was dire, apparently she waffled, was not confident, and made no impression. A complete contrast to her performance in the EU referendum debates. Michael Gove on the other hand was reportedly charismatic (I know, hard to believe), eloquent, and on point. Theresa May was as expected, and did manage to get a couple of jokes in to try and counteract her dour image.

Today was the first vote by the MP’s, and Liam Fox has dropped off the ballot. Pretty much expected, he was never really in the running. Theresa May has won more than half of the MP’s votes, once again, pretty much as expected. I will be surprised if it isn’t Theresa May in the end. Andrea Leadsom has won more support than Michael Gove, which puts paid to some rumours earlier today that some MP’s may vote tactically to try and get Gove through to the final two in order to knock Leadsom out and ensure a Theresa May victory.

The second MP’s vote is on Thursday. The question is where the 16 votes from Liam Fox will go. There were reports Gove might drop out if he failed to beat Leadsom, and even if he got all of Liam Fox’s supporters it wouldn’t be enough to go ahead of Leadsom, and I don’t think he will.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/07/05/boris-johnson-backs-andrea-leadsom-tory-mps-vote-leadership-race/


 

Theresa May has a clear lead in a YouGov poll:

tory-party-main-leader

And rates well head to head:

tory-runoffs-v2

Full poll results

UPDATE: BBC Breaking: Theresa May has my “wholehearted” support

Theresa May is the “only person to unite our party”, Stephen Crabb says after withdrawing from Tory leadership race – BBC News

 

 

Update on UK Labour and Corbyn

Missy has another overnight update from the UK to help kick off our day here.


Further happenings in the world of UK Labour today.

Several more resignations last night, and again this morning took the tally to 51 front bench resignations prior to the vote of confidence.

Vote of confidence was lost by Corbyn (unsurprisingly), 172-40 – going on twitter reaction it seems the surprising part was that as many as 40 MPs still supported him.

WatsonCorbyn1

“Tom Watson was forced to sit next to Jeremy Corbyn in a Shadow Cabinet he decided
would be filmed, then decided to expel the cameras from after the meeting had started.”

Corbyn has declared the vote has no legitimacy and is still refusing to resign, as he believes his mandate from the members is more important than from his MP’s.

Reportedly 13 MPs did not take part in the vote, including one new Shadow Cabinet Minister who refuses to express confidence in Corbyn.

He still has about 7 full shadow cabinet positions and 30 junior positions to fill – with only 40 MPs supporting him, and a total of about 53 that did not vote against him, this may be difficult. After the vote there have been more resignations.

Tom Watson and Angela Eagle are looking at how they can force Corbyn out. If he is that stupid and stubborn I don’t know if they will be able to – but then I don’t know what their constitution says.

This is a disaster, not just for Corbyn, or the UK Labour Party, but for democracy in the UK, they have a currently weak Government going through a leadership vote, and they have an ineffective opposition that is spending more time fighting themselves than attacking the Government.

WatsonCorbyn2

Who would have thought after Cameron’s resignation that the Conservatives were nothing more than a sideshow in UK politics? To me it is increasingly looking like there may be a split in the party and a new party will be formed – not unlike what happened with the NZ Labour party when Jim Anderton left.

There are still reports floating that Corbyn voted Leave, apparently someone has come forward to say Corbyn told him a week before the referendum he was voting leave, however, those asserting this are MP’s who are anti Corbyn, so may have an agenda, but the interesting thing is, his brother has apparently said that Corbyn voted Leave.

It is more believable to most people (except maybe the gullible millennials who think Twitter is a place of honesty and fact) that Corbyn voted Leave as he has a long history of voting against the EU in Parliament, his epiphany for the Remain side was met with more scepticism than the idea that he voted Leave. This article from Heat Street covers most of the points.

Investigation: Did Jeremy Corbyn Really Vote Leave?

This morning there was a bizarre incident at the meeting of the Shadow Cabinet where Sky News cameras had been invited to film. Corbyn seemed to change his mind and think it wasn’t a good idea, and asked the cameras to leave and come back later where they could get some pictures of the new Shadow cabinet.

When they were first in Tom Watson and one other MP were sitting either side of Corbyn, when they went back in to the room there were two different people sitting next to Corbyn. There was a great picture in the Evening Standard tonight of Watson and Corbyn, and the look on Watson’s face said it all! No love lost there.

WatsonUK

Well, I have managed better than a picture of Watson’s face, here is the video the still I saw came from – Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet is Everything

The whole Labour debacle is appropriately being compared to the Thick of it – some have suggested that it would be too far fetched for an episode of Thick of it. A complete omnishambles – where is Malcolm Tucker when you need him?


Thanks Missy – PG

Corbyn crisis continues

Turmoil continues in the UK Labour party with a coup attempt under way against leader Jeremy Corbyn, triggered by the EU exit referendum and Corbyn’s alleged lukewarm support of the failed remain campaign.

Missy reports: “Most media have it standing at 8 resignations and 1 sacking (9 in total), but the Daily Mail are reporting 9 resignations and 1 sacking (10 in total). I am trying to find out if the Shadow Welsh Secretary has resigned or not.”

At as far as I can see in media reports that looks to be the current score.

If a new leadership ballot eventuates it is unclear whether Corbyn would be on the ballot. Corbyn says he will not step down. Whatever happens Labour are likely to spend weeks trying to repair the self inflicted wounds, time that will be leading into a general election campaign. That’s obviously not an ideal situation.

Swordfish summaries the murky situation the Labour Party rules around leadership challenges at The Standard – he tries to “paraphrase, condense and crystallise the key points in a number of UK articles on the precise mechanics of this building coup against Corbyn”.

Labour’s deputy leader says he is saddened and disappointed by the resignations.

In Brexit triggers Corbyn coup: Watson ‘saddened’ by Labour departures – live the Guardian reports on a statement from deputy leader Tom Watson who has not supported his leader.

I was deeply disappointed to see Hilary Benn sacked in the early hours of this morning and equally saddened that so many talented, able and hard-working colleagues felt they had to leave the shadow cabinet.

My single focus is to hold the Labour party together in very turbulent times. The nation needs an effective opposition, particularly as the current leadership of the country is so lamentable.

It’s very clear to me that we are heading for an early general election and the Labour party must be ready to form a government. There’s much work to do. I will be meeting Jeremy Corbyn tomorrow morning to discuss the way forward.

What that way forward might be is currently very unclear.

The main points:

  • Tom Watson declines to endorse Corbyn’s leadership.
  • He says Labour needs to be “an effective opposition”.
  • He predicts an early general election.

Guardian analysis of Watson’s statement:

Tom Watson is positioning himself to replace Jeremy Corbyn this week as a caretaker Labour leader – perhaps with a view to grabbing the job permanently. At least, that’s what his statement implies.

Talking about “effective opposition” is Labour code for “we need a new leader”, because it implies Labour is not providing effective opposition now. It is very noticeable that Watson does not defend Corbyn’s leadership, or urge colleagues to support him.

And the reference to an early election is key too. On Friday the prospect of an early election was little more than speculation. Today almost all the Labour and Tory politicians on the political programmes have been treating it is a near-certainty, which is significant because forecasts of this kind can become self-fulfilling.

The Conservative party has its famous “men in grey suits” who are supposed to tell the leader when his time is up. Watson wears flash pin-striped suits, but his line about “meeting Corbyn tomorrow morning to discuss the way forward” suggests he is about to play the same role. He did not quite say he would have a bottle of whisky and a pearl-handled revolver for Corbyn in his briefcase, but that’s clearly the implication …

The chair of the ‘Labour in for Britain’ group has called on Corbyn to resign, accusing him of “the greatest betrayal” claiming evidence of “consistently attempted to weaken and sabotage the Labour remain campaign, in contravention of the party’s official position”.

A ninth resignation has just been reported.

Karl Turner, the shadow attorney general has said he has resigned “with a very heavy heart”.

So the current score from the shadow cabinet of 31 MPS is:

  • One sacking (Hilary Benn)
  • Nine resignations
  • Deputy leader Tom Watson fails to support Corbyn and implies supporting a change of leader

It’s heading into Sunday evening in the UK so it might be a while to find out where this is heading.