Despite the rolling programme of frontbench resignations in the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn is clearly planning to fight to the bitter end. Labour sources are repeatedly insisting that he will definitely be on the ballot paper in a new contest, and referring to the mandate he has already been handed by members. A Corbynite source said:
‘We are not going to betray that trust by dumping the democracy of the Labour party if there is a leadership challenge.
‘The only way that the leadership of the party will change will be if the members decide that.’
The reason Corbyn is staying put is because he still believes that the membership is behind him and that a coup by MPs will enrage those members. That is why sources close to the leader are repeatedly referring to the members being the deciding factor: they clearly hope that those members will see a coup this week as a betrayal of their wishes, and will punish MPs accordingly in a new contest.
But the question is whether the membership has actually shifted. Rebel MPs are reporting anecdotally that their members have started to say that even though they supported and still like Corbyn, they no longer think he is up to the job. The Corbyn camp don’t think there has been a significant shift, with sources merely remarking that ‘we’ll find out if there is a leadership contest’.