A new political party for Labour MPs who actually want to win a general election seems like the only option.
Speaking as a Tory, every time I remember that Jeremy Corbyn is likely to be Labour leader at the next general election my reaction is similar to every time I remember that there’s a mineral called cummingtonite, it makes me laugh way too much. I suspect the reaction of Labour MPs who want to win the next general election won’t be as sanguine as my reaction when it comes to Corbyn leading Labour at a general election.
Just look at last night’s ComRes polling, whilst this poll was conducted at the start of Theresa May’s honeymoon, it still make pretty grim reading for Labour. By 40% to 36% those who voted Labour at the 2015 general election tell ComRes that May would make a better PM than Corbyn, the over 65s break by nearly 10 to 1 for Mrs May over Mr Corbyn, and Mrs May is ahead as who would make the better Prime Minister with even younger voters.
This poll will terrify Labour MPs and justify the rebels’ actions: does May or Corbyn make the better PM, by age 1/2 pic.twitter.com/vCbZPAofjR
— Sebastian Payne (@SebastianEPayne) July 16, 2016
To put these figures into context as Adam Ludlow of ComRes points out ‘Ahead of [the 2015 general election], Cameron led Miliband on “best PM” by 52% to 31% (21 points). May now leads Corbyn on same measure 58% to 19% (38 points)’
So what do those Labour MPs opposed to Corbyn do? They are trying to oust Corbyn via a leadership contest, but if that fails, what do they do then? Do they keep buggering on and hope eventually the members decide to ditch Corbyn before the general election or do they do something more radical?
If Labour go into the next general election with Corbyn as leader they are risking an extinction level event based on those ComRes figures. Several Labour MPs were tweeting/retweeting those ComRes figures above in despair last night. A split seems inevitable if Corbyn remains leader, whilst Labour might not have much of a history of toppling their leaders they do have a history of splitting, there was the famous split in 1981 that led to the creation of the SDP and the split in 1931, though that split was effectively leader led.
Paddy Power are offering 7/4 Five or more incumbent Labour MPs to register a new political party before the next general election. With the requirement that the bet pays out only if five or more Labour MPs register a new party (it only took two sitting Labour MPs in 1981 to set up a new party) these odds are too short for my liking for me commit substantial sums.
That we’re discussing the odds of Labour party MPs registering a new political party is a damning indictment of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour party and the direction the party is heading, as Nick Cohen writes in The Observer this morning, Labour has the stench of death.