As Andy Burnham speaks about the very real prospect of Brexit, Corbyn should be worried

As Andy Burnham speaks about the very real prospect of Brexit, Corbyn should be worried

When Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary says ‘The Remain campaign is facing the “very real prospect” of defeat in the referendum in two weeks’ time as it fails to reach traditional Labour voters’ it is clear the Remain campaign has issues. Whilst it is clear in the event of Leave winning, David Cameron will voluntarily resign or the Tory Party will revert back to Papua New Guinea-style orgies of cannibalism and chief-killing, Brexit might also see Jeremy Corbyn toppled as well. George Eaton of The New Statesman writes

Should the UK vote to leave the EU, it is David Cameron’s leadership which most believe would soon be over. But his fellow Remainer, Jeremy Corbyn, also has cause to look nervously over his shoulder

“It would be the trigger for some kind of move against him,” a Labour MP said of an Out vote, a view shared by a significant number of anti-Corbynites. “The time for dithering would finally be over,” another told me.

As the spectre of Brexit haunts their days and nights (“pretty petrified” is how an MP described the mood), the Labour leader’s opponents are preparing to pin the blame on what they regard as his “half-hearted” approach. One told me: “Jeremy will have to take responsibility in the event of a Leave vote because up until now he hasn’t shown the leadership we need. Many Labour voters still don’t know the party’s position.”

Corbyn, who was agnostic about EU membership as recently as last summer, has committed to Remain, delivering several speeches on the subject. But he is accused of devoting insufficient attention to the campaign. A former shadow cabinet minister told me “ A leadership team needs to be strategic and treat it like a national election. It’s not being treated like a national election. They’re just going through the motions.

I have my doubts that Labour will topple Corbyn before 2020, the polling shows were a leadership contest triggered, Corbyn would still win, possibly with an ever larger mandate than last time, anti-Corbyn Labour MPs are very good at talking the talk, but not so good at walking the walk, but a new Tory leader and talk of an early general election might focus minds.

In light of the mood music, I’m not backing Corbyn going in 2016, I think the best course of action is to take the 11/4 Coral are offering on Leave winning the referendum. Leave are better than the circa 27% chance the bookies implies.


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