Corbyn won. And I mean really won. So PLP – Put up, or shut up!

I am irritated by the demeanour of the Blairites in the PLP that implies that Jeremy Corbyn’s win the leadership election was somehow illegitimate and that the Labour Party has been somehow hijacked ‘left-wingers’ who have no place in the party and that the Blairites are somehow defending the more ‘authentic’ Labour Party members from these impertinent newcomers.

Indeed, I was so irritated I decided to take another look at the figures on the election.

The first thing to note is that the, ‘one member one vote’ system, wasn’t introduced by Corbyn or ‘the left’. It was instigated in light of concerns about the system that elected Ed Miliband. Thus The leadership election, triggered by Ed Miliband’s resignation, took place under the reformed rules adopted from the proposals of the February 2014 Collins Report, which was led by Ray Collins, Baron Collins of Highbury.[8] The plan entailed a shorter election than the one that took place in 2010, with a new leader being in place before Labour’s party conference in September 2015.

Under this system there were:

  • 552,000 members of electorate
  • 292,000 full members 53%
  • 148,000 affiliated members (trade union members) 27%
  • 112,000 registered supporters 20%
  • 56,000 about 9% were rejected.

The election results were:

First round

Turnout for the vote was 422,871 (76.3%)

Corbyn got 50% of full members which was 40,000 more than Burnham’s entire vote.

The121,751 full members voting for Corbyn is only 2000 full members less than the three other candidates got combined!

The registered supporters accounted for only 35% of Corbyn’s vote.

Even without a single registered supporter vote Corbyn would still have got 162,000 votes in the first round which means he would have still won by the first round by 80,000 votes.

Even under the old electoral college system Corbyn would have won both the members and trade union vote by a mile and despite the votes of the PLP may even have still won outright because of the size of his majority in the other two colleges.

So despite the controversy surrounding the system that allowed registered supporters to vote for the leader, it is absolutely clear that Jeremy Corbyn won the election legitimately and that his win was NOT dependent upon the Registered Voters.

Corbyn won. And won overwhelmingly. That’s it. End of.

In such circumstances how can it be acceptable for members of the PLP to openly criticise Corbyn – to publicly call him ‘incompetent’, ‘a disgrace’, ‘unelectable’ and threaten to ‘knife him in the front’. How can it be acceptable for senior party figures like Blair and Mandelson to repeatedly challenge Corbyn in the right-wing media?

Corbyn didn’t just scrape through.  He doesn’t have to ‘prove himself’ to the PLP. He is the leader the party chose. If there are those who really cannot stomach a Corbyn led party then it is they who are clearly out of step with the tide of opinion in the party and it is they who need to consider their position. And what they need to do is either put up and shut up, retire to the back-benches and stop actively campaigning against their own party leader, OR, resign from the Labour Party and join the LibDems or even the Tories. The honourable thing to do in such circumstances would be to resign as MP’s and trigger a by-election – but they won’t of course, for two reasons: (I) they know they’d lose (ii) they don’t understand the concept of honour.

And the issue here isn’t about imposing universal compliance with the Party Whip, MP’s are elected as individuals, I get that, and there will be situations when an MP finds it impossible to vote with the party on principle. But what we are talking about here is members of the PLP who have publicly and viciously launched an organised and sustained attempt to oust the legitimate leader, chosen by a huge majority of the party, and undermine party democracy.

It is not Corbyn who has to accommodate them; it is they who need to accept the result of leadership election and support the leader, or quit the party.


About I Am Not A Number

I Am Not A Number is written by Chris Jury. For 30 years Chris Jury was a TV actor, director and writer best known for playing Eric Catchpole in over 60 episodes of the BBC’s antique classic, Lovejoy, and for directing over 50 episodes of Eastenders. In 2008 he was appointed as the Senior Lecturer in Recorded Media in the School Of Music & Performing Arts at Bath Spa University. He currently presents, Agitpop, a pop & politics radio discussion programme on North Cotswold Community Radio He is currently the Communications Officer for UCU at Bath Spa University and a UCU SW Regional Rep at SWTUC.
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