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Will Labour split?

24 July 2017

4:20 PM

24 July 2017

4:20 PM

With parliament in recess and the Prime Minister on holiday, politics is calmer than it has been in some time. But Jeremy Corbyn’s comments on Marr yesterday about the EU and the single market are a reminder of Labour’s divisions over Brexit. At some point, this tension will have to be resolved. The 49 Labour MPs who voted for Chuka Umunna’s single market amendment to the Queen’s Speech will have to either back down or repeatedly defy the whip.

The question is how does this division fit with the broader struggle for control of the party machinery between the Corbynites and the rest. Will those Corbynites who want mandatory re-selection regard defying Corbyn on the single market as grounds for challenging a sitting MP? If they do, then that would re-open the prospect of a Labour split and the possible formation of a new party. As I said on Saturday, the most important fact about the new Lib Dem leader, Vince Cable, isn’t that he’s 74 or a ballroom dancing expert but that he is a former Labour party member.


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