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The threat of Corbyn becoming PM is irrelevant unless LAB backs a second referendum

April 29th, 2019

There has to be a general election first and that means retaining remain support

Lots of discussion ahead of tomorrow’s meeting of Labours National Executive Committee which will decide on the party’s policy on Brexit for the May 23rd euro elections. The big question is whether a referendum will be offered and under what terms.

So far the leadership has managed skillfully to bypass this by mentioning a second referendum almost as a footnote in policy statements. That would need to be hardened up if it is to satisfy the many within the party who want a solid commitment.

This is central because the parliamentary arithmetic makes it virtually impossible for Corbyn to become Prime Minister without a general election first. The current gap in MP totals is too wide and indeed his party has lost more of those elected at GE2017 than any other party. To win that general election LAB is going to have to give a clear commitment that satisfies its large Remain support basis.

Again it’s worth reminding ourselves that Corbyn’s personal rating continue to be abysmal. Yesterday the Opinium approval numbers (the key measure) had him once again trailing TMay. The latest “Best PM” numbers are above in the chart. I’d argue that a commitment to a referendum would see a sharp improvement.

Those are not the figures that a party leader needs if he/she is to fight an imminent general election.

My guess is that the NEC will once again not make a firm enough commitment and than that will impede the party considerably at the May 23rd Euro elections.

Mike Smithson