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Will McDonnell be next leader?

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Does the real threat to Jeremy Corbyn sit alongside him in the House of Commons, rather than facing him from the Conservative benches?

Because, when it comes to political skills and acumen, shadow chancellor John McDonnell stands head and shoulders above any of his colleagues, Corbyn included, in the wishy-washy shadow cabinet.

Let us consider some of its most prominent members: Corbyn himself shows no great leadership qualities and his parliamentary contributions do not set the chamber alight; shadow home secretary Diane Abbott can’t add up; shadow Brexit secretary, Sir Keir Starmer, talks in incomprehensible legalistic riddles.

So there is not much competition there to trouble McDonnell who is forthright and honest about his political ambitions which are, he says bluntly, the overthrow of capitalism.

The idea that he might want to boot Corbyn out of his job may sound preposterous, and anyway the difficulties in dumping a leader, who is determined to hang on, are immense.

But it is not impossible. Remember, who on earth would have predicted that Corbyn could become Labour’s leader? So, to employ the old cliche: Watch this space.

Labour have not been effective either in challenging the Government’s performance, even though Theresa May’s administration is itself in a state of disarray.

What is more, there is more squabbling in the Cabinet with Environment Secretary Michael Gove blaming Chancellor Philip Hammond for the defeats over Brexit in the House of Lords. All this civil war and incompetence is good for newspapers, but bad for Government. Will these people never learn?

- The issue of Labour’s all-women short-lists at election times has come to the fore again. Apparently people who have changed sex to become women will be allowed on them. Big deal!

But the whole idea of such short-lists is questionable to say the least. They are insulting to women, an affront to would-be male candidates, and unfair to potential Labour voters who would surely expect their candidate to be chosen not just from one section of society.