AMID today’s shadow cabinet carnage and move for a coup, Jeremy Corbyn followers can get some respite from the Twitter account of Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq who says the blame for Brexit does not lie with the Labour Party leader.
With any number of Corbyn’s front bench potentially heading for the exit door before the sun sets, Tulip says it is actually time for Labour to unite rather than tear itself apart. Islington South MP Emily Thornberry has also made comments suggesting the party steers clear of another leadership contest. So it’s not all one-way traffic this afternoon.
Sceptics may say Tulip is forced to offer such conciliatory words because her constituency membership has, to a not insignificant degree, been supportive of the Corbyn leadership. Earlier this month for example, Hampstead and Kilburn members agreed a motion shielding him from criticism of Labour’s handling of the recent anti-Semitism controversies and accusations.
But what credit Tulip may gain among her local membership by tweeting supportive words today, she risks losing among frustrated Labour supporters who either say Corbyn campaigned with the handbrake on ahead of Thursday’s referendum, failing to get the Remain vote out in key Labour areas, or that if the next Conservative leader calls a snap general election he would be able to prevent a wipeout. Unsurprisingly, replies to her tweet have reminded her that she was one of the MPs who helped Corbyn get onto the ballot paper in last summer’s leadership challenge.
Of course, it’s a bit of a stretch to think that all of those resigning from the shadow cabinet today have suddenly had a change of opinion on Corbyn. It can easily be argued that a lot of MPs simply didn’t give Corbyn a chance to lead from the moment the membership selected him less than a year, because they decided then and there it was a non-starter. And some of them even joined the shadow cabinet. It figures that the party would have been able to concentrate on mobilising its core support in the north east, Wales and elsewhere across the country if they were not continually talking about whether Corbyn should stay or go.
But Corbyn’s mumbling of “I did all I could” in the aftermath of the Leave vote does need fleshing out. If your side loses a referendum, you need a post-mortem to find out why, and the questions inevitably get passed up to the leadership. A bit more explanation as to what all I could meant might help.
Locally, his enthusiasm for the task seemed to be caught in a little snapshot when the Ham & High asked him on Thursday whether he would be watching the results come in. How many party leaders plan to go to bed at such a pivotal moment for the country? Most of us were too intrigued to sleep.
We’ve asked Keir Starmer, the Holborn and St Pancras MP who was the subject of an internet campaign aimed at convincing him to stand for the leadership last summer, what he thinks. No response so far, but as soon as there is one…