Stormy times are here again

Will they never learn? You would have thought that by now the Labour Party would have been aware of the perils of squabbling during a general election campaign.

Tuesday, 23rd May 2017, 10:37 am
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:38 pm
1995 library filer of Chris Moncrieff. Photo by Peter Smith/PA

Yet here we have Nia Griffith, the shadow defence secretary, having a public blast with Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, pictured, over the key issue of Trident. It does not appear to have entered their heads that a political party, whose members fight among each other rather than reserving their energies for their real opponents, is a real turn-off for voters who want the party of their choice to be at peace with itself. There will be plenty of time for Labour Party blood-letting after the election if the party finds itself still in opposition. There is even talk among some members of setting up a breakaway party if this happens. Such pessimistic talk is no way to conduct a general election campaign – it almost invites defeat.

But for many Labour MPs, the prospect of another five years in opposition, especially under Jeremy Corbyn, is more than they can bear.

There is bound to be a leadership election in the event of a Labour defeat, but unless Corbyn quits voluntarily, he may be more difficult to shift than is realised. So, stormy days ahead for Labour. Indeed, there will still be huge problems for Corbyn even if Labour win. So take cover!

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

- There must have been some jangling nerves among the Conservative leadership when Labour reduced their deficit in the opinion polls. This has almost certainly come about because of the Conservative proposal to make more old people pay for care. Despite this setback, the Tories say they have no plans to amend this policy.

Politicians who upset what is known as the “grey vote” do so at their peril. It is the older people who turn out to vote in the biggest numbers. So this was a gamble. But this is almost certainly the reason why the Tories have stepped up their attack on Corbyn, warning that the Brussels grandees would make mincemeat of him if he led Britain’s Brexit negotiations. This has given Corbyn a new line of attack on the Tories which, to his credit, he has successfully exploited.