Despite seeing their party gain an extra 3.5m votes at the 2017 General Election, a small group of disloyal right-wing Labour MPs are reportedly planning to trigger another Vote of No Confidence in the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn over the party’s handling of the seemingly never-ending antisemitism row.
The rebel group, which is thought to contain around 15 Labour MPs – all of whom are on the right of the party and in severe danger of being deselected by their local constituency parties – is reportedly planning to trigger the ballot imminently in order to bolster support for a breakaway party.
Furthermore, Labour right-winger Jess Phillips has bolstered rumours of an imminent Vote of No Confidence against the Labour leader by dismissing talk that such a move would be disastrous for anti-Corbyn MPs.
In 2016, Labour MPs voted by 172 to 40 for Corbyn to quit, but after managing to cling on to his position, and then going on to lead the party to their best election swing since 1945, it is unlikely that the outcome of a second vote would be anywhere near as unanimous.
However, the triggering of a second Vote of No Confidence would raise fresh splits that would severely weaken the party’s chances of ousting the flailing and widely-derided Conservative government.
Coincidentally, the plot has emerged at precisely the same time that Yvette Cooper is being touted as a potential replacement for Corbyn.
Just yesterday, a former advisor to Tony Blair predicted that Cooper – who came third in the 2015 Labour leadership contest after managing to inspire just 17% of Labour members to vote for her – would somehow be able to boost Labour’s support among the whole country to an unprecedented 55%
Yvette Cooper’s Centrist politics managed to inspire just 17% of Labour members to vote for her in 2015.
The similarly-positioned Lib Dems are currently polling at around 9 or 10%.
Based on the evidence, if Yvette Cooper was leader, Labour would face electoral oblivion. https://t.co/TAHNEanloh
— Evolve Politics (@evolvepolitics) September 2, 2018
However, despite appearing to have their new leader lined up, many believe that a fresh Vote of No Confidence in Jeremy Corbyn would end up in humiliating failure for Labour’s increasingly desperate right-wing MPs.
What would Labour MPs gain from another no confidence vote in Corbyn? If they lose (most likely) they’re humiliated, if they win they further antagonise the membership. https://t.co/qsAYAd8K5n
— George Eaton (@georgeeaton) September 2, 2018
Any Labour MPs who supported a vote against Mr Corbyn – a leader who retains extraordinarily highly popularity amongst grassroots members – would do so knowing that their decision would be extremely unpopular with their local constituency members.
And, with the Birkenhead MP Frank Field being essentially forced to resign the Labour whip after himself suffering a Vote of No Confidence from his local constituency party, any Labour MP supporting the latest proposed move against Mr Corbyn would also risk near-certain deselection.
However, one relentlessly anti-Corbyn Labour MP, Jess Phillips, has inflamed the rumours of an imminent vote by hinting that she thinks such a move would be a fantastic idea at an opportune moment.
In response to a tweet warning that such a move would be “precisely the stupidest thing the PLP could do right now“, Phillips dismissed the warning as untrue:
A ‘no confidence’ vote in Corbyn would be precisely the stupidest thing the PLP could do right now. I know everyone wants to do something, but that something needs to help not hinder the cause of fighting AS. This would just harden positions & force people back to their corners.
— Emma Burnell (@EmmaBurnell_) September 2, 2018
I don't think it's true
— Jess Phillips (@jessphillips) September 2, 2018
It remains to be seen whether or not the rebel group will stick to their guns and force through the futile vote against Mr Corbyn, but one thing is for certain: many of the MPs involved in such open rebellion at such a crucial time will surely see their own support from within their local constituency parties plummet even further.
Furthermore, with a vote on the reintroduction of mandatory reselection looking likely to pass at the upcoming Labour conference at the end of the month, the actions of Labour’s relentlessly disloyal right-wing MPs bear all the hallmarks of a futile last-ditch effort to save their own jobs at whatever electoral cost to the party as a whole.