Corbyn refuses to endorse ‘remain’ at party conference

Monday 23rd September 2019

Since Boris Johnson assumed residency of 10 Downing Street, he has confronted one catastrophe after another, many would argue of his own making, but much of his energy has been exerted in unifying his divided political party, even if that means he has to withhold the party whip from 21 dissenting MPs.

However, although there are clearly still those who are rumbling on the backbenches and he may have further reduced the majority he never had, it does seem that he has surrounded himself with a cabinet who are all now singing from the same hymn sheet, regardless of whether or not that song is popular with the electorate.

However, all is not as serene on the opposition benches. This weekend is Labour’s party conference and leader Jeremy Corbyn is juggling with grievances from his members.

There was a motion, that Corbyn said he had no knowledge of on the Andrew Marr Show, designed to get rid of the role of Deputy Leader.

Tom Watson currently holds this position and several senior Labour MPs were incensed at this move which seemed to be an attempt to silence Watson and his Brexit position.

He has made it clear for some time that he believes that Labour should now wholeheartedly embrace  a remain stance when it comes to Brexit, and should campaign accordingly. Unfortunately this is not the position held by Corbyn, which Marr described on his show as that of a fence-sitter.

Clearly it is impossible for any party to show a united front if the two figures at the top are at loggerheads, although it is Mr Corbyn’s contention, that by representing those Labour areas so keen to leave the EU, as well as Labour remainers, the party and the country can move forward with some democratic harmony.

Prioritising stopping a no deal Brexit, with cross-party unity, Corbyn then suggested that he would prefer a general election, which if he won, would then negotiate a new deal with the EU, offer this as an option in a referendum and then act to remain or leave as a result of the outcome.

Unfortunately, Watson and others are more closely aligned with the Liberal Democrat stance of revoking Article 50, so while a concerted front might be possible while fighting a possible no deal, it appears that once that is prevented, the Labour Party have a whole lot of internal wrangling to overcome.

Jeremy Corbyn relies on union block vote to crush members who want party to back Remain, writes Robert Peston

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