30 Nov 2015

Labour PLP: the sequel

One Blairite Labour grandee left the PLP meeting tonight saying it was the most optimistic he’d been in ages, such was the ferocity of attacks on Jeremy Corbyn. He described the Party leader’s demeanour throughout this onslaughts from MPs as “crouched.”

Margaret Beckett told the meeting she was outraged by the attempt to call en emergency NEC meeting this morning to breathe down the neck of the shadow cabinet.

She said it was hard to unite the party if their leader’s office was determined to divide it.

Jack Dromey gave a ferocious attack on the leadership which included an attack on Ken Livingstone being co-Convenor of the defence review. Hilary Benn gave his approval to that comment.

Indeed, I believe Hilary Benn may have led quite a few Labour MPs off to his office after the PLP meeting – presumably for a game of bridge?

David Winnick, an opponent of attacks on Syria, said MPs should not be shaken down by Momentum, which he described as a party within a party.

So the anti-Corbyn forces are gloating a little that they let of steam and rubbed their leader’s nose in it a bit today.

But the pro-Corbyn forces think they’ve whittled down the numbers threatening to back the government on Syria. The Chief Whip is said to have told the Shadow Cabinet that 43% of Labour MPs are ready to back war. Pro-military attack MPs think that might be an over-statement of their support which is closer to 60. One Corbyn aide was telling the rest of his team they had rebels down below 30 and could get it lower with a 3 line whip, potentially scuppering the whole Cameron plan.

Instead, David Cameron gets his victory in the Commons on Wednesday. Labour will speak with two voices from the front bench.

One frontbencher called it all “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

One Shadow Cabinet member I was chatting to was looking in his diary and thought he saw yet anotherĀ  shadow cabinet meeting scheduled for tomorrow. He nearly choked with horror until his office reassured him it wasn’t happening.

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