— TSE (@TSEofPB) August 21, 2016
Labour MPs set to hoist Corbyn by his own petard?
The Sunday Times reports the “party within a party” framework will be based on the Socialist Campaign Group of MPs, which counts Mr Corbyn as a member.
According to the paper, the rebels will look to sign up more than 100 MPs to join the Co-operative party, Labour’s sister party, and sit on the green benches as “double hatted” MPs.
The group will appoint their own whips in parliament to co-ordinate rebellions where they disagree with Mr Corbyn’s policy and look to change the rules to appoint an elected Shadow Cabinet, as previously called for by the party’s deputy leader Tom Watson.
It will draw up policies on areas including Brexit and national security, the Sunday Times reports.
The rebels apparently prefer the creation of a new group on Labour benches to forming a breakaway party.
They argue Mr Corbyn and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, both members of the Socialist Campaign Group of MPs, would struggle to criticise the move after they voted against the Labour leadership from the backbenches when in power.
“Corbyn voted against the leadership more than 500 times,” said one rebel leader.
“We’ve only done it a dozen times. We’re just getting started. There will be a new grouping within the PLP a lot like Corbyn and McDonnell had. We will stick together for mutual support. We will have our own approach on the economy and Brexit and national security.”
The Co-operative party has held an electoral agreement with Labour since 1927 that allows them to stand joint candidates in elections.
The plan is to also box in Corbyn, ‘if Corbyn wins, Tom Watson, the deputy leader, is planning to push for the reintroduction of elections to the shadow cabinet so moderates can return to the front bench after resigning en masse after the EU referendum.’
My succinct precis of this is that the PLP are expecting Owen Smith to lose, and that they will not split if Corbyn wins, bet accordingly.
If you’re less charitable, you could say that those Labour MPs who resigned from the shadow cabinet a couple of months ago are looking at a facing saving way of getting back into the shadow cabinet.