Today Labour MPs are set to vote for return of shadow cabinet elections, but are they headed into a trap?

Today Labour MPs are set to vote for return of shadow cabinet elections, but are they headed into a trap?

Labour’s rebel alliance may have come up with a way to castrate the Labour leader but they could be flying into a trap.

Last night it was reported that

Labour MPs are to vote on restoring Shadow Cabinet elections after a stark warning that they risk losing the party’s heartlands unless they unite behind the party’s leader.

The Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) agreed unanimously to hold a ballot [today] on a plan by backbencher Clive Betts to give MPs a say on who should be in Jeremy Corbyn’s – or Owen Smith’s – Commons team.

Betts, who spoke unopposed, said that his proposal would be a key way to heal the wounds opened by the bitter leadership race between Corbyn and challenger Smith.

The Sheffield South East MP, whose motion was seconded by Clive Efford, warned that the Shadow Cabinet elections would put pressure on those who had quit Corbyn’s team to return to the frontbench.

But he stressed that the overwhelming message from the voters on the doorstep had been that they wanted Labour to unite, not fight among themselves…

..If passed, the plan will then go before the ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) this month, and would then have to be approved by the party’s annual conference in Liverpool.

It seems like a clever idea by the rebels in the PLP. It would appear to box in Corbyn and allow a face saving way of allowing them to rejoin the shadow cabinet after their spectacular resignations a few months ago, as well potentially reconciling a party that had seemed irreconcilable. But it seems Corbyn might outflank them once again, as the article goes on to report

One MP told HuffPost that if the leadership decided to amend the Shadow Cabinet elections to include party members, that would scupper the entire idea as it would then become bogged down in an NEC wrangle.

“It would be deeply disappointing if they tried to torpedo it like that,” a party source added.  “This is supposed to be the first stage of a ‘truth and reconciliation’ process.”

I suspect the Labour rebels will be channelling their inner Admiral Ackbar, and are thinking ‘It’s a trap’ if the above turns out to be true. If Corbyn does ensure that the wider Labour membership does vote in shadow cabinet elections we will probably see a clean sweep for the Corbynite candidates as we saw in the recent NEC elections. As I noted last week, Corbyn is turning out be quite the master tactician, this could be further proof of that.


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