Whatever silence they may be keeping in public, the majority of Labour Party backbenchers harbour a fierce resentment of the Corbyn revolution, the results of a parliamentary ballot indicate.
The Parliamentary Labour Party committee, which regularly meets the leader of the opposition, is supposed to allow Labour MPs to inform the shadow leadership team of the prevailing mood on the backbenches each week.
The committee elected today, by secret ballot, saw Labour’s backbench MPs choose openly hostile figures like Graham Jones, Neil Coyle and Ruth Smeeth, instead of excellent candidates like Ian Mearns or Clive Lewis.
Graham Jones stood for the position on the absurd platform ‘that the leadership is not patriotic and does not support the deployment of nuclear weapons’.
When there’s no public accountability, it seems, Labour MPs are still prepared to secretly voice their discontent – even as Labour’s rating rises to a huge 46 per cent in the latest YouGov poll, an eight-point lead.
The committee itself is limited in the power it can exert. We should also note that it doesn’t represent the parliamentary party as a whole, as frontbenchers (shadow ministers) can’t vote – and perhaps some backbench MPs used it as a protest vote against their lack of a frontbench position.
But if party members were hoping that the bulk of Labour MPs would reconcile themselves to Corbyn’s leadership after the surge in the general election and further rise in the polls since, it seems they might be in for a disappointment.
Keeping the party united is important, particularly with the chance of a second general election being fairly high. But it can’t be unity at any price.
Corbyn must show that he’s prepared to face down any demand to water down the manifesto – or to deprive party members of their democratic right to determine who stands for Labour in the next election.
#226 Get Socialism Done ● Special US section edited by Joe Guinan and Sarah McKinley ● A post-austerity state ● Political theatre ● Racism in football ● A new transatlantic left? ● Britain’s zombie constitution ● Follow the dark money ● Book reviews ● And much more
And you choose how much to pay for your subscription...
Manchester Momentum has successfully mobilised political engagement through its community-focused cultural strategy. Its ethos is here to stay, says Andrea Sandor
From dirty tricks campaigns to the private interests of career politicians, Sam Gregory explores why Labour lost a long-standing Sheffield seat
After knocking on so many doors, the movement built in support of Jeremy Corbyn needs to stay present particularly where people feel abandoned or under attack
Organisations and individuals including Kehinde Andrews, Hanif Kureishi, Ahdaf Soueif, Gillian Slovo, Robert Del Naja and Anish Kapoor urge BAME and migrant communities to vote for Labour
Conrad Bower reports on the main parties’ manifesto promises to address ‘aggressive’ tax avoidance by multinationals like the ‘Silicon Valley Six’
Sam Gregory of Now Then magazine reports on the candidates vying for votes in a key Lib Dem-Labour marginal