Efforts to remove Jeremy Corbyn as Britain’s Labour Party leader appear to be gathering steam today following Thursday’s vote to leave the European Union.
Seven parliamentarians have resigned from Corbyn’s shadow cabinet after Hilary Benn, the shadow foreign secretary, was sacked.
Benn told the BBC Corbyn is “a good and decent man, but he is not a leader.”
Labour “needs strong and effective leadership to hold the government to account,” Benn added.
We don’t currently have that and there is also no confidence we would be able to win a general election as long as Jeremy remains leader.
Following the referendum and David Cameron’s announcement that he will step down as prime minister, a general election may be called later this year.
Few of Corbyn’s fellow lawmakers supported his leadership bid last year and it is assumed the majority still wants him out.
On everything from nuclear weapons and British sovereignty over the Falklands to labor relations and welfare reform, Corbyn has pulled the Labour Party so far to the left that it cannot possibly win a general election anymore. Even the majority of Labour’s 2015 voters think so.
But the trade unions continue to support him and Corbyn was elected with a strong mandate from the party members. That is why lawmakers have hesitated to remove him so far.
If they did pass a motion of no-confidence in him, the party as a whole would have to elect a new leader around the same time as the Conservatives elect theirs.
General election preview
What broke the camel’s back, argues Dan Hodges, a former Labour Party activist, in the Daily Mail, is that the EU referendum seemed to foreshadow a general election defeat. Precisely those working-class areas where Labour is supposed to do well fell to the Nigel Farage- and Boris Johnson-led campaign to leave the EU.
Corbyn campaigned for membership halfheartedly. He regards the EU as a neoliberal project that is in thrall to the bankers. Yet he spoke favorably of the free movement of people when immigration is exactly why so many Labour voters opted out.
“But in truth the most damning thing about his contribution was its utter irrelevance,” according to Hodges.
It’s not that Labour couldn’t conjure compelling arguments to resonate with its core support; it couldn’t even conjure a presence in the debate.