Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including the supreme court ruling on whether Boris Johnson’s long suspension of parliament was lawful and the Labour conference in Brighton
Supporters of Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit stance argue for it partly on the grounds that the party has to be ambivalent because otherwise it might lose support from leave voters at the general election. But on the Today programme this morning the leading elections expert Prof Sir John Curtice said it was hard to see how a compromise strategy would succeed. He said:
There is no doubt that the Labour party faces the challenge, how does it keep the coalition [of remain voters and leave voters] it has together. But at the end of the day the arithmetic doesn’t lie. For every one voter who voted Labour and leave, there were two in 2017 who voted remain.
And the difficulty about believing that Labour’s latest variation of its compromise designed to appeal to both groups is going to work is that the party has lost ground heavily amongst remainers and amongst leavers. It lost that ground such that by the end of May it was only running at about 25% in the polls across the electorate as a whole. There is no evidence at all of any recovery in that figure. And so therefore it is not clear why yet another compromise - a compromise that looks unlikely to appeal to either Labour remainers or Labour leavers - is actually going to succeed in repairing the damage.
On a subject where the centre ground is very thinly populated - the two most popular options are either leaving without a deal or let’s just revoke article 50 - on this issue where actually being one of the extreme positions seems to be more electorally popular, Jeremy Corbyn, the supposed radical of British politics, has chosen to be the last compromiser.
The risk with [Corbyn’s Brexit policy] is that, as a result, he gives the impression of being a ditherer and lacking leadership. Whether it’s what people think about Jeremy Corbyn in general, or about how he’s been handling Brexit in particular, the numbers are very poor indeed.
In fact Ipsos MORI, in their most recent poll, actually recorded last week, in terms of the level of satisfaction with Jeremy Corbyn in general, the worst figure for any opposition leader since Ipsos MORI started polling in 1977. The days when Jeremy Corbyn was popular ... for the time being at least are very much behind us.
Yesterday the Labour party voted to postpone any decision about how it might campaign in a second referendum on Brexit until after the general election, and after the renegotiation planned by Jeremy Corbyn if he wins. But if anyone thought that was the last word on the matter, they were mistaken. Shortly afterwards, speaking at a fringe event organised by Politico Europe, Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, implied that the vote did not matter much because it was “obvious” where Labour would end up. He said:
I have got a pretty clear idea of where the members are on this and therefore I think it is very likely that the members will want us to campaign for remain. We campaigned for remain in 2016, we are currently campaigning for remain against any Tory outcome, and it seems to me obvious where the membership is on this.
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