IT’S not often Newsnight turn up to a meeting of the constituency Labour Party in Holborn and St Pancras, but the cameras were in Judd Street earlier to survey Jeremy Corbyn supporters in an attempt to gauge whether they still have the same power to propel him to victory in another leadership contest. Kilburn councillor Thomas Gardiner appeared warning that the grassroots felt “hurt” by attempts by MPs to override the members’ choice, while Laura Murray, from Momentum, said even more new members had signed up and were ready to take up the cudgels for the Islington North MP, when called upon.
Inside the meeting, however, a motion on sending a vote of confidence in Mr Corbyn was voted down with the split reported to be: 44 against sending it, 35 in favour. Pretty close, but a defeat for Corbyn supporters here.
“We were asked to send support to Corbyn and the CLP has declined. It’s not a good night for him, as members have done the same thing in Tooting,” one source said.
Both Holborn and St Pancras Keir Starmer and his predecessor Frank Dobson have already declared that they think it is time for a new leader and that Corbyn’s position is now untenable. It would have been an awkward evening if the local membership had chosen had a different path and Keir’s position did not align with the way the motion vote. Camden’s other MP, Tulip Siddiq in Hampstead and Kilburn, faces a similar meeting in her constituency tomorrow.
Despite the obvious differences of opinion, however, it wasn’t apparently particularly fiery meeting at the Town Hall, with everybody sitting on their hands and doing their best to stay civil… at a time when the party as whole is said to be in a state of civil war.
One Corbyn supporter suggested Keir’s presence at the meeting meant some members felt like they could not be open about their wish to provide more backing to the leader. Another blamed the motion not being carried due to a delegate system where branch delegates vote on members’ behalf. The chance for every individual member to vote may have to wait until a leadership ballot is finally called.