The Tories are in turmoil, but the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn is in trouble too

Chris Moncrieff
Chris Moncrieff
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The Conservative Party may be in a turmoil over the leadership elections, but the Labour Party are in even worse trouble if anything.

Leader Jeremy Corbyn is coming under increased fire from many of Labour’s backroom boys - including some former party heavyweights, who do not believe Labour can ever be elected into Government so long as Corbyn is at the helm.

Jeremy Corbyn has suffered and survived two major attempts to oust him from the leadership but has made clear he will stick to his guns

Jeremy Corbyn has suffered and survived two major attempts to oust him from the leadership but has made clear he will stick to his guns

This is despite Corbyn’s relative and surprising success at the recent General Election called gratuitously by Prime Minister Theresa May, even though the Party had at least an overall majority over their opponents beforehand.

That majority was lost and the Tories had to fall back on support from the Democratic Unionist Party in a bid to get their business through, not an altogether successful operation.

Most of Corbyn’s lieutenants in Parliament are supporting him wholeheartedly, but with the trouble arising elsewhere, he must now feel less safe in the job than he was, say, a year ago.

There have already been resignations from the Shadow Cabinet and from the Party itself because of Corbyn’s leadership, so it looks as though urgent action needs to be taken at the top to restore Labour’s popularity at Westminster and beyond.

Corbyn has suffered and survived two major attempts to oust him from the leadership but has made clear he will stick to his guns come rain or shine.

When the Tory leadership battle is over, we shall perhaps get a clearer idea of the situation at the top of the Labour Party and Corbyn’s prospects for survival at the helm now.

So far, the Foreign Office is taking a surprisingly lenient view of the outburst by the British Ambassador in Washington’s strictures on the “inept” state of the American administration in the White House.

It is all very well top diplomats having private views on these issues but it is careless - unless it was intended, of course - to allow those views to enter the public domain.

At the time of writing, President Trump has made no reference to what amounts to insulting behaviour, but I have no doubt that before long he will express some fury at the way the British diplomat has clumsily expressed his views.

There will be a kind of enquiry into how this leak came to pass but we have not heard the last of this affair. President Trump does not take lightly to allegations of incompetence made against him by foreign diplomats.

Ann Widdecombe, one of the new Brexit MEPs elected to the European Parliament, joined her colleagues in turning their backs on the Parliament when the EU anthem was being sung. If that is not an example of childish, fourth-form behaviour then I don’t know what is.

Widdecombe, who once attacked her former boss, the ex Home Secretary Michael Howard in the Commons, told me: “We are all grown-ups now.” But this act of infantile defiance made it clear that these “grown-up” politicians have a lot of work to do before they reach adulthood in a political sense.

They have already wasted public money in fighting for these seats and the British taxpayer will not be amused by this latest example of grown-ups behaving, pointlessly, like school children.

Boris Johnson seems to be heading for the leadership of the Conservative Party and ultimately become Prime Minister. It is not all done and dusted yet of course, although it would be a bold gambler who risked his life savings on Jeremy Hunt getting the job.

There is little doubt that Johnson’s premiership, should it take place, will transform the face of the Conservative Party - although he will have great difficulty, as did Theresa May, to secure a Parliamentary majority for a reasonable departure arrangement for Britain from the European Union.

I suspect that if he takes over the reins, one of the first people to suffer from his leadership will be the present Chancellor Philip Hammond, who has been critical throughout the campaign about Johnson’s approach to the job.

But I suspect there will be other casualties too when Johnson finally takes up residence at Number Ten.