What now for Labour as Corbyn lives on?

Traditional Labour supporters will be in despair at the victory of Jeremy Corbyn in the leadership battle.

Tuesday, 27th September 2016, 9:33 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 1:31 pm
1995 library filer of Chris Moncrieff. Photo by Peter Smith/PA

Corbyn seems impregnable and must now be a racing certainty to lead the party into the next general election.

The rock-hard left have now secured a vice-like grip on the party, that is in large part due to the so-called goodwill of those Labour MPs who made Corbyn eligible to fight the leadership battle after the general election defeat last year, even though they did not support him. I wonder whether these “morons” – their own self-description – can sleep in their beds at night now they see what they have “achieved”.

Labour heavyweights, like Lord Kinnock, who rid the party of the Militant Tendency in the 1980s, and Tony Blair, believe the party is unelectable with Corbyn at the helm.

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In his acceptance speech, Corbyn barely recognised the existence of his challenger, Owen Smith, whose campaign was a mixture of crude insults and not much else.

There are surely better people to have taken up the challenge on Corbyn. What about Angela Eagle, Harriet Harman or Hilary Benn to name just a few? Now there is tentative talk of another bid to oust Corbyn next year. But who would be willing to endure the kind of humiliation suffered by Owen Smith last weekend?

And will those who earlier this year quit Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet try to crawl back now into his favours again? The truth is, a small band of do-gooders have landed Labour in its worst mess in its history.

- The former Chancellor George Osborne, sacked by Theresa May, seems to be becoming more of a pest to her from the backbenches. During a speech in Chicago, Osborne attacked ministers for their “naive” approach to Brexit and urged Mrs May to delay negotiations with Brussels. He then praised Lord O’Neill, who resigned from the Government in protest over the Prime Minister’s policy towards China. Apart from any other consideration, it is regarded as out of order for a British politician to criticise the Government when overseas.

This kind of sniping from an aggrieved political grandee is always distracting for a Prime Minister, but I imagine that May will not let it bother her. Even so, she could do without it.