Don’t underestimate Corbyn

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Here today, gone tomorrow.

It seems that is what a substantial number of Labour MPs would like to be the fate of their left-wing leader, Jeremy Corbyn. Even high-level Labour members like Tony Blair claim that the party would never win an election with Corbyn at the helm.

But the question is: Is he right?

Corbyn put on a hugely unexpectedly positive performance at Theresa May’s ill-judged 2017 general election.

Everyone feared that May would wipe the floor with Corbyn and emerge with a huge, or at least substantial, Conservative majority in the Commons.

But it was not to be. Corbyn’s lack of popularity at Westminster was not mirrored by his popularity elsewhere in the country. In fact, he gained almost pop-star attention and came close to winning that contest himself.

But now he is faced with yet more problems of his own. He doesn’t seem afraid of dumping dissidents in the Labour Party over Brexit - and the situation has now reached a position where sacking even more Labour MPs could see them become as big a shambles as the current Tory Party.

So, unless he wants this to happen, Corbyn will have to proceed carefully before sacking any more Labour MPs who show signs of betrayal.

Tony Blair’s view that Labour will never win under Corbyn could be a big mistake. The former Labour Prime Minister would do well to pipe down. There is more about Corbyn than he realises, and the present leader is by no means a disaster for his party.

- Tory MP Rory Stewart, who failed in his bid for the Conservative leadership, is a popular figure nevertheless. His next objective is to become mayor of London, and it is my belief that he should not be put off by his critics.

However, I also think he is far too important a figure to make the London mayoralty his goal. He would be a good and successful leader of the Conservative Party. I hope he can be persuaded to raise his ambitions so he can show his former Tory colleagues what he can do. He is a bigger man politically than simply taking what is no more than a second-class job in politics.