For those who might not have kept pace with the Labour leadership news, as resignation followed resignation over the last 24hrs, we've prepared a quick update. We expect further developments to break after the Parliamentary Labour Party meeting tonight. At present, it looks like a stalemate between rebel MPs and Corbyn's supporters stubbornly sticking to his grassroots mandate. Unless John McDonnell gives Jeremy Corbyn a final (private) push, it may be that only a poll of the full membership can settle this...
Over the weekend…
In the early hours of Sunday morning, news broke that Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn had sacked Hilary Benn for attempting to stage a coup. Shortly after, Shadow Health Secretary, Heidi Alexander resigned. Throughout Sunday and today, this Labour Party sideshow to ‘Brexit’ continued with twenty members of the Shadow Cabinet, nine Junior Shadow Ministers and ten others resigning so far. Metro has a full list here. So, why did they resign? Who are the new members of the Shadow Cabinet? and what do the next 24 hours hold for Labour?
Resignations, resignations, resignations
It is no secret that concerns and frustrations have been brewing amongst the Shadow Cabinet for some months against their “unelectable” leader. In our blog on Wednesday, we predicted a rebellion against Corbyn in the event of Brexit vote, although we expected his opponents would bide their time to allow media to focus on the blue-on-blue Tory civil war. Instead, the party is in the midst of a somewhat dis-organised, premature rebellion, with a staged series of resignations intended to force Corbyn to step down as leader. Frustration has boiled over at Corbyn’s role, or lack thereof, in the Remain campaign, with some suggesting he attempted to sabotage the campaign, while Chris Bryant has even accused Corbyn of voting to leave despite the leader telling Twitter that he voted remain. The 1am sacking of Hilary Benn was the final straw. Corbyn has reacted quickly, saying that he would stand in the event of a forced leadership contest and fighting to fill the vacant cabinet seats as they arise.
Who is in the new Shadow Cabinet?
Shadow Health Secretary - Diane Abbott
Shadow Foreign Secretary - Emily Thornberry
Shadow Transport Secretary - Andy McDonald
Shadow International Development Secretary - Kate Osamor
Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary - Dave Anderson
Shadow Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs Secretary - Cat Smith
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury - Rebecca Long-Bailey
Shadow Education Secretary - Pat Glass
Shadow Environment Food and Rural Affairs Secretary - Rachel Maskell
The Next 24 Hours
The Westminster bubble anticipates a Labour leadership contest is round the corner, though there has been no official confirmation of this yet. If this was to happen, Corbyn has already confirmed that he would stand, which would likely leave Deputy Leader Tom Watson in a caretaker role. We expect further news to surface shortly after this evening’s Parliamentary Labour Party meeting. As a reminder, the process within the Labour party is as follows:
- Parliamentary party nomination – to challenge Corbyn candidates need the support of at least 20% of Labour MPs (47) to get on the ballot.
- Party membership ballot – votes are now cast on a ‘one member one vote’ basis, which would take no less than two months.
And meanwhile the Conservatives...
The backbench 1922 Committee decided this morning that nominations will close on Thursday for the Conservative leadership contest, as the party has announced a 10-week deadline for a new leader, with a result expected on 2nd September. As we have previously speculated, beyond Boris, Theresa May, Stephen Crabb, Dominic Raab and Andrea Ledsom are all considering bids.