He won’t be allowed back into the PLP
Getting Jeremy Corbyn back into the Parliamentary Labour Party is the top aim for his supporters but, I believe the way they have conducted their campaign in Brighton last week, has made it impossible for Keir Starmer to restore the Labour Whip.
Back in August, according to the Observer, the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLPD) was circulating a conference resolution which would have stripped the leader of his disciplinary powers and handed them to the conference delegates.
The idea was quickly rubbished by party sources but it will, no doubt, have convinced Team Starmer that Corbynistas were intent on causing maximum embarrassment to the leadership.
What got Corbyn into trouble, of course, was the damning report on anti antisemitism by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. His claim that it was “dramatically overstated for political reasons” saw him suspended from the party last October.
His party membership was reinstated a couple of weeks later but the party whip wasn’t restored. He sits as an independent in the Commons and this week refused to rule out standing against Labour in a General Election.
In Brighton one of the big votes was on an Action Plan agreed with the EHRC which sets up a new semi-independent disciplinary process. It was easily passed but over a quarter of delegates, assumed to be supporters of Momentum and CLPD voted against.
The resignation of Shadow Employment Secretary Andy MacDonald, over support for a minimum wage of £15 an hour was seen by Starmer loyalists as an attempt to sabotage the Leader’s speech. MacDonald had helped launch a workers’ rights package with the deputy leader Angela Rayner a couple of days earlier.
The heckling during Starmer’s speech convinced them that Corbyn supporters are intent on hurting the party and there is no reason to seek to conciliate them by letting Corbyn back in.
Then there’s the calculation that leaving Corbyn in the cold will be electorally popular. Corbyn’s Leadership ratings were truly dire He went into the 2019 General Election with a gap of 50 between approve and disapprove.
By contrast Starmer is level pegging with Boris Johnson on who would make the best Prime Minister.
That’s first time in 13 years a Labour leader has not been behind in this key rating.
Don is a former journalist and Labour party staffer who used to write regular headers on PB