Whose party is it anyway?
There have been rumours for months about a possible coup against Jeremy Corbyn, and Brexit has provided a cover for it. Does the Labour Party belong to the 230 members of the PLP or the millions of people who make up the labour movement, who work so hard to get those MPs elected and campaign week in, week out.
The disconnect between the PLP and Labour voters is nothing new. New Labour lost millions of voters between 1997 and 2010. People on the doorstep still put their distrust of politics and Labour down to the Iraq war. The neglect of working class communities in traditional Labour heartlands almost led to Scottish independence in 2014 and certainly played a role in the vote to leave the EU. The PLP has become so insulated in Westminster that last year they thought it was safe to allow Corbyn onto the leadership ballot paper. They thought that the wider party would reject the antiausterity, pro-investment message and the left would be silenced for another generation.
Corbyn winning with 60% of the vote after a campaign which totally re-energised the Party should have been a wake-up call. Instead they have used every possible chance to undermine him, brief to the press and plot for this coup. John McDonnell has already pointed out that party membership is the “sovereign body” and if the PLP wants to waste energy having a leadership election Corbyn must be on the ballot paper. He will once again be given a resounding majority.
The response from the labour movement has been to rally behind Corbyn. Trade union leaders have issued a statement backing the leader and more than 200,000 have signed a statement of confidence. While the plotters call for unity, they are completely unaware of the fact that outside Westminster the Party is united - behind the democratically elected leader. The fight for the soul of the Party has been coming. We would rather be fighting the Tories, but should sections of the PLP attempt a coup then we will fight back. The Labour Party belongs to the membership and, having found our voice last year, we will not now go quietly.