As expected, Jeremy Corbyn has just beaten Owen Smith in the Labour leadership race with 62pc of the vote, higher last year’s 60pc. So this means he has redoubled his authority – and probably his reach within the structures of the party as moderate members shrug their shoulders and give up. ‘Let’s wipe the slate clean from today,’ he said in his victory speech – something intended to sound emollient, but could have just as easily sounded like a threat.
Isabel Hardman and Marcus Roberts discuss Corbyn’s victory on Coffee House shots
Overall Corbyn beat Smith in every category, receiving 313,209 votes while his rival amassed just 193,229. Among members, Owen Smith received his highest share of the vote at 41pc — managing 116,960 votes to Corbyn’s 168,216 votes. When it came to registered supporters, Corbyn stormed ahead with 70pc of the vote with 84,918 votes to Smith’s 36,599.
As James reported in the magazine this week, work is already underway for the next coup, but the question is whether this race has helped or hindered the moderate cause. While the turmoil has made it more difficult for Corbyn to command any sort of authority in Parliament, the way the race ended up being pitched by the Owen Smith team and the ill-preparedness of the moderates when it came to recruiting members to back their candidate. Two in five of Labour members backed him: it’s not an appalling result. But Smith’s strategy for the leadership contest undermined the moderate cause even more: they organised a coup against their leader and ended up serving up someone who embodied everything the membership had rejected last time around: inauthenticity, a certain media savviness, and a sense that everything was being said for tactical reasons, rather than out of conviction.
So the coup has failed – and the party now has even longer to recover.