Long-Bailey divides Labour as 50 MPs threaten to quit if she wins leadership

Monday 10th February 2020
Rebecca Long Bailey

The last four years in UK politics has not only been dominated by Brexit, but moreover by the split in the Tory party over how this should be delivered.

Rancour between the front and backbenches was commonplace, with members of the ERG combatting more centrist MPs.

Boris Johnson’s leadership however, appeared to amalgamate the two sides, even if his hand was forced to withdraw the Conservative whip from 21 of his revered, and experienced, colleagues. All’s well that ends well, and a triumphant result at the election booth was the final outcome.

Labour were left in disarray after December 12, having been unable to topple the Tories, and it appears that even now as the Labour leadership election unfolds, they are mirroring the chaos that the Conservatives were embroiled in past years.

The bookies, and most of the opinion polls suggest that the race is between Keir Starmer and Rebea Long-Bailey, but factions of the party are threatening to walk if the latter is successful.

According to party insiders 50 MPs are prepared to walk if Long-Bailey is appointed, either to become Independent MPs or to leave politics altogether.

It is the belief of this group that Long-Bailey is politically too closely aligned to the last leader, calling her position, ‘continuity Corbyn’, which they feel is an ineffective way forward for Labour.

There are many that believe that Corbynism simply did not work, or appeal to the country, and that maintaining his policies and position is simply a death knell.

With the convoluted election procedure, which won’t even resolve the issue until the first week in April, Constituency Labour Parties, unions and MPs all have their say and because each group has their own agenda, building a consensus is inevitably a tricky process.

The unions appear to be firmly in Long-Bailey’s camp but if MPs are less impressed, she will require the support of the CLPs, which may be missing, if they get wind of a surfeit of MPs leaving if she is appointed.

Long-Bailey herself insist that she would bring all sides of the Labour Party together in an inclusive shadow cabinet, that would unite and strengthen them, but it seems there are many that are no convinced.

Keir Starmer looks like the candidate most likely to overcome these issues and take the helm.

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