Since the referendum, Labour spent the following week doing its best to implode. Members of the shadow cabinet resigned en masse, only to be replaced by other shadow ministers who then resigned their post not too long after. This is done in the name of bringing down the leader Jeremy Corbyn, who many in the PLP feel isn’t fit to lead the Labour party to a general election. A significant number of Labour voters are not too appetised by Corbyn’s reign as leader either. Yet Corbyn remains entrenched as leader of a party that in any other circumstance have seen its leader resign. His position is untenable, but he’s holding on to dear life.
He’s holding onto dear life because he knows he can mobilise enough support among Labour members to vote for him in a leadership election bid. Such a victory would keep him in control of Labour even though the PLP would most likely split between the party. The PLP is deciding to not challenge Corbyn’s position until he either resigns or becomes a certitude loser to whoever his challenger would be (most likely Angela Eagle). As a strategy to dispose Jeremy Corbyn without splitting the party, this may be the most effective.
The PLP are taking a huge risk though. The general public probably won’t see this as a clever strategy being implemented to ensure the survival of HM Opposition from perpetual Tory government. Instead the public are likely to think the PLP is not only full of bland and boring politicians, but incompetent ones who can’t even dispose of their own leader quickly despite being very unpopular. Simply put the PLP don’t look in charge of their own party, rather than tolerating a pariah as leader they are being held hostage to him. Now who’d want these hostages to negotiate Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union? Aren’t they meant to representing us? Aren’t they meant to leading us through these uncertain times?
The PLP may save Labour, but it will be a pyrrhic victory. The waiting game will only help the Tories. Would that constitute saviour?