First Jamie Reed and now Tristram Hunt, moderate Labour MPs no longer feel they can serve under the 'leadership' of Jeremy Corbyn. Hunt was an outspoken critic of Corbyn and after the disastrous
relaunch attempt, it's not uprising he would want to follow Reed by walking away from the mess the leadership has created.
Over the past week, Corbyn attempted to 'relaunch' himself and his party - taking the first interviews of a new year as his opportunity. Unfortunately for him, and anyone who had any hope of a competent opposition forming in Parliament, it reflected his past as Labour leader: it was a complete disaster.
First Corbyn spoke about immigration. He said, "Labour is not wedded to freedom of movement for EU citizens" and that he wants "reasonably managed migration". This was a big policy U-turn, in September he defended free movement and said he didn't want a "hard border" between the UK and EU. Perhaps it showed a shift, too, towards the pro-Brexit populism that Theresa May is trying so hard to appease. But with flip-flop Corbyn it didn't last long. He later added "I don't want that misinterpreted, nor do we rule [free movement] out". This came just hours after the original policy decision. Nobody knows Labour's policy on immigration. Not the members, not the MPs and certainly not Corbyn. It's embarrassing for the party to have elected a leader so useless at leading.
As if that wasn't bad enough, he did it again - on the same day! He put forward one of the most ridiculous policy ideas anyone could dream up - a maximum salary cap. Impossible to implement and criticised from nearly all sides (including senior Labour advisers), Corbyn then expanded on the policy by changing it to a plan for maximum pay ratios. This was a U-turn in itself; does Corbyn not prepare for interviews at all? Does he just say whatever comes to mind? Unfortunately it is very likely that he does. However, next, in typical Corbyn style, a spokesman completed the U-turn and said that he had "misspoke".
Just think - would you want to be an MP under Jeremy Corbyn? Deputy Leader Tom Watson was on Sky News the other day discussing immigration. During the interview he said it was "unfair" to ask him Labour's immigration policy. To be fair to him - how is he supposed to know? When Corbyn couldn't even tell you, how can Watson? MPs can't speak for Labour policy (particularly on mainstream issues) because they they change every other day.
We know the vague things Corbyn stands for, but if he wants to be taken seriously as leader of the opposition he needs to create coherent, specific policies which stand up to scrutiny. This "day of chaos" (a fitting tribute from the Conservative Party chairman) showed that he is not capable of doing this. He's had his chance to prove he can lead and it's clear he can't. Moderate Labour MPs have tried to oust him, then they tried to help him - but now they seem to have given up. Expect more resignations if this party, which jumps from embarrassment to embarrassment, continues.
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Editor's Column published every Friday.
Another One Bites the Dust: Labour MPs Can't Take Corbyn's Leadership Any Longer | Toby Gould Reviewed by Student Voices on 10:50 Rating: