Corbyn won't be removed—but what happens after he steps down? The answer depends on what you think "Corbynism" isby Chaminda Jayanetti / September 23, 2018 / Leave a comment
Labour’s terrible summer, scarred by self-inflicted wounds over mishandled accusations of anti-Semitism, has once more brought grumblings about Jeremy Corbyn’s suitability as Labour leader.
Whilst immovably popular with members, MPs feel increasingly alienated and the public is wholly unimpressed; the hapless Theresa May consistently scores much better—or rather, less bad—approval ratings than Corbyn.
Indeed, a recent poll found that removing Corbyn as leader would increase Labour’s poll share far more than any shift in its Brexit policy.
Another ‘coup’ to oust Corbyn is out of the question: his position has been strengthened both by the last general election and the departure of centrists from the party membership.
No backroom manoeuvre to ease Corbyn into retirement should be considered imminent. Labour remains within touching distance of the Tories in the polls, and the horizon looks much sunnier for the opposition than the Brexit-bearing government.
However, were Labour’s poll ratings to drop sharply for any reason, and as Corbyn nears 70, attention may turn to how to preserve key parts of his agenda under a different leader while keeping the party together—“Corbynism without Corbyn,” so to speak.
Who would take up the mantle?
Critically, there are now viable alternative leaders who could in theory appeal to the Corbyn base. Two years ago, Emily Thornberry was still relatively inexperienced on the shadow frontbench, John McDonnell was seen as identical to Corbyn, and Angela Rayner was virtually unknown.
That has chang…