Is Corbyn botching his chance to shine?

1995 library filer of Chris Moncrieff. Photo by Peter Smith/PA

1995 library filer of Chris Moncrieff. Photo by Peter Smith/PA

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Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, should be delighted at the dire straits of the Government.

The governing party at Westminster is in disarray; the Cabinet is split over the European union referendum next June; a Cabinet Minister has resigned in a huff; and the Budget is unravelling into an unseemly mess.

Yet, Corbyn was still flattened at Prime Minister’s Questions.

David Cameron simply clobbered him in the Commons, drawing attention to the ludicrous Corbyn so-called loyalty list, placing members of his own parliamentary party in gradations, depending on whether they are hostile towards him, luke- warm, or actively supportive. Unsurprisingly, he mercilessly taunted Corbyn with this latest Labour development, saying: “Mr Speaker, I thought I had problems.”

Labour will have to buck up its ideas beyond measure if it is to become an effective political fighting force again.

Meanwhile, the truest word so far spoken on this issue comes from Robert Harris, the bestselling novelist, who was himself once a member of the parliamentary lobby. He said: “Everyone I know who voted for [Corbyn] regrets it.” That says it all...

The sudden resignation of Iain Duncan Smith as Work and Pensions Secretary has rocked the Government, but it is far from proving fatal. The real victim is the Chancellor, George Osborne, whose Budget this month was the final straw so far as Duncan Smith was concerned.

Duncan Smith denounced the Budget in comprehensive terms, describing parts of it as “indefensible”.

Some of the Budget, notably the cuts to disability benefits, have been revoked, thus creating a black hole so far as revenue is concerned, which Osborne will have to fill.

The Chancellor has not quite gone from hero to zero, but the Duncan Smith resignation has seriously damaged his authority.

And this, in turn, could harm his prospects of succeeding Cameron.

Nor is the wounded Osborne likely to be able to heal himself by the application of a few sticking plasters. It is far more serious than that. All of which, of course, will have other leadership aspirants like Theresa May, Michael Gove and Boris Johnson rubbing their hands with anticipated glee.