Is Labour Party going to split?

What is lurking just beneath the troubled surface of the Labour Party?

Tuesday, 21st August 2018, 7:09 am
Updated Tuesday, 21st August 2018, 8:15 am

Is it an incipient tsunami, about to burst over Westminster?

More and more Labour MPs are expressing, or feeling, serious doubts about Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, to such an extent that there’s now open talk of a split and the formation of a ‘moderate’ left-of-centre party.

Whether they have the bottle and the spirit to do it is quite another matter.

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They will not be heartened by the experience of the breakaway SDP formed in similar circumstances in the early-1980s. It chugged along for about six months before disappearing beneath the waves, swallowed up by the old Liberal Party.

If such a political cataclysm were to occur, I suspect Sir Vince Cable, leader of the scarcely visible Liberal Democrats, would want to be involved in a very senior role. He has been having secret talks about a new party in what used to be called smoke-filled rooms, so there is speculation that he is considering a merger involving what’s left of the Lib Dems and disaffected Labour MPs.

They are furious not only that the anti-semitism row is being allowed to drag on, but because Momentum, the left-wing campaign group, is trying to remove moderate Labour Kate Hoey from her seat in Vauxhall.

Other similar Labour MPs are said to be in their sights as well.

Jeremy Corbyn will have to go into reverse gear pretty quickly on several issues, if he is to placate the would-be rebels.

- Why on earth are ministers allowed to play fast and loose with taxpayers’ money, to go on overseas jaunts just for their own convenience?

It has just come to light that Boris Johnson, when Foreign Secretary, spent £20,000 of public cash on what appeared to be a a completely pointless day-trip to Afghanistan earlier this year.

But it was not pointless for Boris: It enabled him to avoid a crucial Commons vote on a third runway for Heathrow Airport, a project to which he is bitterly opposed because it would have an adverse effect on his West London constituents.