There is no guarantee that the Labour leader will resign if his party losesby Alex Dean / April 21, 2017 / Leave a comment
Bar an unlikely upset, Labour is headed for defeat on 8th June. A recent YouGov poll, the first released since this election was announced, put the party on 24 per cent to the Tories’ 48. This is the biggest Conservative lead since May 2008, in the heat of the financial crisis. Jeremy Corbyn has argued that the result is not a “foregone conclusion”—but frankly that sounds more like hope than real belief.
In light of this, you might expect the centrist wing of the party to be in despair. But many anti-Corbyn MPs have started talking about a silver lining. Their argument runs something like this: “Corbyn is leading our party to its worst defeat since the 1980s—but when we lose, he will resign. Then, Labour’s recovery can finally begin.” There has been discussion in recent days that Yvette Cooper—boosted by her incisive questions at PMQs and the publicity from her husband Ed Balls’s Strictly success—could take the helm when Corbyn finally throws in the towel.
I sympathise. As someone who would like to vote Labour, I want them to be right. But I fear they are not. For two reasons, there is no guarantee that Corbyn will resign if he loses in June.
First, consider the evidence from last year. Corbyn was torn apart by his party in a brutal vote of no confidence: 172 of his MPs voted against him, only 40 backed him. The infamous “coup” followed: dozens of his front benchers stepped down. Hilary Benn, a ringleader who was sacked for insubordination, summed up Corbyn: “He is not a leader.” All the while, Labour continued to plummet in the polls. Most normal leaders would have stepped aside. But Corbyn is not a normal leader. Citing his support among Labour members he stood his ground.
Granted, a catastrophic defeat in June’s general election would be a humiliation beyond even this. But all bets are off when it comes to Corbyn’s ability to endure torrid times. He defied conventional wisdom before, who’s to say he won’t do so again?
There is another reason to doubt whether Corbyn will go, and it boils down to the so-called “McDonnell amendment.” During the next Labour conference, in September,…