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Labour MPs are ‘starting to mobilise for a leadership challenge’ against Corbyn

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It has been revealed this afternoon that some Labour MPs are ‘starting to mobilise for a leadership challenge’ against Jeremy Corbyn – not even a year after Owen Smith’s miserable attempt to take back control of the party.

This information has been revealed by Political Affairs Editor of the Manchester Evening News, Jennifer Williams, and corroborated by a source close to EvolvePolitics.

It appears that the Labour Party’s damaging split over Brexit has reached boiling point. According to Williams, it is the anti-Brexit left who are starting to mobilise a challenge to Corbyn’s leadership as opposed to the Progress wing of the party – who have largely supported Corbyn’s call to trigger Article 50 and respect the result of the Brexit referendum.

The soft-left candidate in last year’s failed leadership challenge, Owen Smith, has been vocal in opposition of triggering Article 50 and even backed a second referendum during his campaign against Jeremy Corbyn. But it is not just the soft left of the Parliamentary Labour Party who have been agitating and manoeuvring in recent times.

A key Corbyn ally, Clive Lewis, has made noises against Corbyn’s stance in response to the Article 50 debacle, and has threatened his resignation from the Shadow Cabinet if Labour MPs are told to vote for the Government’s Brexit Bill. Corbyn-backing union leader Manuel Cortes has also signalled that Labour MPs should defy the whip if no Labour amendments on the Brexit Bill are accepted. Similarly, much has been made of Diane Abbott’s illness and subsequent disappearance on the eve of the vote to trigger Article 50. Could this be the start of a mutiny from within? A coalition of the soft-left and the anti-Brexit Labour left could offer a formidable challenge to Corbyn’s leadership – especially as the latter largely rallied around Corbyn in the last leadership contest.

The dissent against the Labour leadership for respecting the democratic process is mainly coming from those who have previously been sympathetic to Corbyn. This opens up a window of opportunity not only for the likes of Lewis, who has previously been touted as a potential successor to Corbyn, but also the moderate members of the PLP behind the #LabourCoup last summer.

It is clear that this would this prove to be Corbyn’s toughest battle yet – as well as a potential electoral disaster for the Labour Party – whose massive downward spiral in the polls began at the same time as last year’s leadership contest. Another leadership contest so soon could be an extra nail in the coffin of a party that is trying to speak for working class people but is being constricted by a Parliamentary Labour Party that is intent on trying to depose their twice elected leader.

The up and coming by-elections in Stoke-on-Trent and Copeland are now even more important than ever – as defeat in either of these could put Corbyn and his team under huge pressure and give the Labour plotters the ammunition they need to finance and fight another leadership battle.

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