Fresh turmoil for beleaguered Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn today as his commitment to Brexit sparks further discontent in his cabinet. Not only does Corbyn face fierce opposition from multiple shadow cabinet members, but may risk losing a significant number of labour supporters. At a time when labour is against the ropes, it may be that Corbyn’s resolution to ‘the will of the people’ may cost his party a place in future of post-Brexit Britain. As Article 50 looms, labour becomes divided. A rebellion amendment against article 50, tabled by several Conservative MP’s has already been overturned in stark contrast to the party majority.
Since the surprise referendum result of June 23, when 51.9% of the UK voted to leave the EU, many ‘Remainers’ have relied on the labour to challenge what they perceive to be a foolhardy move. Dire economic predictions, worsening EU relations and concerns over jobs have spurned a backlash all over the UK, polarising the nation. Corbyn’s sensational support for the conservative mandate has raised questions over whether his commitment to ‘democracy’ may damage the UK as well as labour.
Over the last weeks many Labour MP’s have voted with their feet, with Clive Lewis, Jo Stevens, Rachel Masker and Dawn Butler stepping down. This may just be the start. Shadow business secretary Clive Lewis has openly rejected Corbyn’s ‘3-line whip’ to pressure party unity, spearheading a new campaign and challenging the leader and his clemency. Lewis may become the spark that fuels the flame. Regardless of mounting opposition, rumours of Corbyn’s resignation have found no basis, with a labour aide claiming ‘no truth at all’. Lewis himself may just be the next loss, followed by shadow home secretary Dianne Abbot.
With discontent in the ranks, there is growing concern that Corbyn may risk the party itself. Having gathered over 50,000 new members, Corbyn’s commitment to his ideals were a demonstrable draw. However, with 63% of Labour voting Remain, there is no security that labours boom will be held. An open letter ‘Labour Against Brexit’ has already amassed over 2000 signatures in constituency members, raising the spectre that Corbyn’s convictions may come at great cost.
Still, Corbyn remains resolute. With demonstrable nationalism it may be smart to respect populism to steal middle ground voters and even some hard-line conservatives. Corbyn’s policies, although admirable, may not provide enough argument to allow the risky game he is playing. With labours role in the future of Britain uncertain, political games may be too dangerous.
The conservative bill to trigger article 50 is currently under debate in the house of commons.
Image courtesy of Garry Knight