Centrists’ party allies resigning in preparation for split?


Two weeks ago, The SKWAWKBOX revealed exclusively the news that a right-wing Labour MP had told members at a constituency Labour party (CLP) meeting that a group of 12-20 Labour MPs were preparing to split off and form a new party – the MP claimed not to be one of them.

Last week, news broke that LibDem leader Cable – ironically – missed a key EU vote where the government avoided defeat by a cheating whisker because he was meeting unidentified persons to discuss the new party. The ‘usual suspects’ in the parliamentary Labour party (PLP) were present for the vote, so it seems likely that Cable was meeting right-wing former Labour donors and vampiric ex-advisers.

Cable’s party – floundering in spite of its anti-Brexit position – has infrastructure but little support. The new party will have media allies but no infrastructure. But genuine LibDem supporters will see their party taken over as a host for other interests. As writer Alex Nunns put it:


Also last week, reports emerged that one of Tony Blair’s former closest advisers was ringing around to various ‘celebrities’ to see whether they would be willing to stand as candidates for a new ‘centrist’ – i.e. what the right wing is called in the current distorted political landscape – party.

And at the same time, talk of the split has increased and firmed up markedly in senior Labour circles.

Now reports are reaching the SKWAWKBOX from a number of CLPs saddled with right-wing MPs that close allies of the MP have begun resigning from the Labour Party in unusual numbers.

More details are being dug out and will be published when ready, but it seems plausible and perhaps even likely that those allies are resigning in order to prepare the way for MPs who want to jump ship in the deluded expectation that they are personally popular and electable, rather than having retained or ridden into office last year on the back of the ‘Corbyn surge’.


If they go, it will be ‘good riddance to bad rubbish’ and the Labour Party will be the better for their departure. However, the new party will be relying on – and probably receive – massive support from Establishment media to hide the fact that the whole venture is a desperation measure born out of a desire to prevent Corbyn becoming PM. Nobody should be fooled, but it remains to be seen how many will be.

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  1. What policies are they going to offer… the whole “we need a centralist Party” narrative mostly comes from the media distortion of Labour under Corbyn being a far left party… but much of if not most of the 2017 Labour Party manifesto would have fitted in very well with pre-Coalition Lib Dems.

    1. It certainly won’t be in the centre on the political spectrum, it will be a pro-corporate and pro-war effort, coupled with rampant Europhilia and identity politics.

      Reasonable Lib Dems arguing for PR / Land Value tax / NHS tax rises won’t want anything to do with it.

  2. There might be an election soon. If we don’t deselect those Labour MPs who vote with the Tories NOW they will vote with the Tories after the election. They will not leave Labour for a new party before the next election as they would probably lose their seats. They will wait until after an election to jump to a new party. #deselection

    1. I think they will go soon because they still hold out hope for a second referendum/abandoning Brexit, and above all they must block Corbyn. Remain will be their clarion call and they will hope for a mirror image of UKIP support with the added bonus of ‘dependable household names’ with a ‘popular’ personality as leader. Someone like Chukka who will appeal to Londoners.

  3. This will be SDP 2.0 but this time it’s as Skwawkbox states entirely aimed to prevent Corbyn becoming PM and keepong the Tories in power. The people involved in setting up this ‘status quo’ party will be:

    -Establishment within the civil and secret service
    -Mainstream media including most of the Graun ‘journos’
    -Financial sector keen to ensure their system remains as is
    -Millionaires and billionaires who will want politicians they can buy and sell
    -Chris Leslie, Chuka Umunna and his band of bland politicians
    -Orange bookers
    -Tory lites in the media (though I think there will be very little Tory splits because the plan is to keep Tories in power)
    -US state department etc

      1. ……..container full of nose pegs at the ready. Perhaps they may even be issued with our new ration books?

  4. I was once a member of the old radical Liberal Party, decades ago. This looks like a re-run of the SDP fiasco.

    The upshot of the “merger” was that the new party swerved erratically for years, settling on the centre-right version that brought us the Coalition.

    The other effect was that the old Liberals moved out of politics or stayed unhappily and ineffectively in the LDs.

    One major danger here is that the Deserters will snap off enough strength to deny the UK the effective government we desperately need.

    The other danger is the factionalism to which the left has been self-destructively addicted forever. This is important, not just because of the weakness that disunity brings, but because many of our new members are unaccustomed to turf wars. They won’t tolerate it on the grounds that it’s symptomatic of the bad old days: they will fade away.

    So, the Deserters, caring only about their own futures, will leave our poorest and most vulnerable communities to die – they don’t care about us at all.

    1. This establishment (sorry centrist) outfit will also destroy the Lib Dems further. Where as many of us may not be overly sorry about that, there are a few Lib Dems such as Andrew George who are genuinely radical and have some good suggestions. A trawl through the comments in Lib Dem Voice suggests plenty of support for Land Value Taxes, strong support for civil liberties, tax rises to fund the NHS and other such things which are areas that I’d like to think any true Labour figure would work with. Some Lib Dem members even support a degree of nationalisation and support Labour positions on workers rights.

      My concern is that this party would displace reasonable Lib Dems with Osborne / Mandelson clones to the detriment of everyone. If any Labour figure really thinks they have more in common with Osborne than Corbyn, or for that matter the left of the Lib Dems, the Greens or TUSC, then they were never Labour in the first place.

  5. Time to consider if Momentum should take-over Labour Party HQ which has proven to be untrustworthy???

  6. Woodcock described on Radio 4 this morning as highly valuable or words to that effect!!!

  7. A couple of years ago at a JC leadership rally, I met a former SDP member who was now a supporter of Corbyn. Shows that the idea that JC is some kind of far ledtist is nonsense.

  8. Should this happen Labour should use it as a chance to tighten the rules on affiliation removing the sad sack of shit called the friends of isreal for a start. All politicians should be banned for receiving rewards from forign nationals and their reps.

  9. Privatising and selling off the Welfare State’s crown jewels to the lowest bidder, as well as offering the NHS to the likes of Richard Branson to feed off is considered ‘centrist’.

  10. If they recruit ‘quality’ candidates like Woodcock, how could they fail to impress the electorate

  11. This makes it even more important for those CLPs saddled with right-wing MPs to be ready to select their new candidates … and those areas with defective selection systems need to be sorted so they’re fit for purpose.

  12. Vince Cable’s absence from the voting this week was no accident, he did not want the Government to fall yet because plans are not quite in place for Labour’s wreckers to jump ship. Obviously Woodcock jumped too soon before the jockeying for places in the hierarchy of the new party of malcontents has been thrashed out.

    It is now imperative that CLP’s or more importantly the Corbyn supporters, in anti-Corbyn CLP’s have contingency candidates ready at a moments notice to stand for election in a snap GE.

    When/if a new party gets off the ground, let’s see how many of them will be Friends of Israel but even so, some of them will stay in Labour to act as ‘sleepers’.

    1. Interesting that Woodcock chose to stay on as an ‘independent’ (ha!) MP rather than quitting to force a byelection, in the manner of Tristram Hunt and Jamie Reed You’d think he’d jump at the chance to potentially embarrass Labour So there is clearly something in the wind, and he’s part of it

  13. How many right-wing Neoliberal parties will there be? Labour is the ONLY actual CENTRIST party!

    1. That may be true according to the manifesto but PLP is stuffed with neoliberal/neocon MPs who will do all they can to hobble a Corbyn Labour government if it managed to thwart establishment, increasingly desperate, plans and get elected. Aside from those MPs who show their colours clearly and may leave to new pastures, no doubt at a most damaging time possible, there are many of them lying low to be a de facto second front probably remaining within the party as MPs to fight for extreme Capitalist imperialism and their own mapped out ambitions till the bitter end.

      I’m afraid it looks like there isn’t going to be time to introduce and enact the mandatory reselection process… I hope there are emergency plans to change the balance in PLP as the country cannot afford anymore needless austerity, privatisation of NHS and social care, squeezed welfare state, wars and political chaos and subversion around Brexit!

      UK, in the current system, needs a real choice of a true committed left/Socialist party/government not another bland broad church centrist party that is forced to water down policies on the big issues from within, done that for nearly 40 years already and look where we and many overseas (Iraq etc.) are now!

  14. I’m very sure Vince Cable and the Blairites, Ummuna, Leslie, Phillips, Stephen Kinnock et al would do this to stop a Corbyn Labour Government, with a lot of help from Tony Blair in the background. Gosh, they really are desperate, aren’t they? We badly need a Labour Government to start undoing the damage done to the country by this government and previous Tory governments (Blair as well) going back to thatcher. How much more can the poor and homeless endure?

  15. Looking at the yougov poll published in todays ST a number of relevant thoughts occur.

    First, for the context these were:

    38% for a new right wing Brexit party.
    24% for a new extreme right wing anti immigration & anti Islamic party
    One third for a new anti Brexit centre party.

    Secondly; this seems to reflect the now entrenched positions of a fractured electorate unwilling to compromise on specific positions. You can not only see this across social media you can feel it around you. The divide has not improved since the referendum. If anything it’s got more pronounced and fractured.

    Finally; the perception of the impact or otherwise of tactical voting could well be key. Any attempted realignment would be dependent upon attracting sufficient swing and tactical voting. An assumption dependent upon the existence of a sufficient degree of flexibility of position amongst voters.

    With little evidence of such flexibility and evidence to the contrary, the existence of large proportions of entrenched positions could well result in a three or even a four way even split in terms of votes, if not seats.

    The other factor to consider is the impact on the Tory Party of Tory Europhiles joining with OB Lib Dems and Progress wing LP. The Brexit ultras would certainly take total control and go after that 38% and 24%, probably in some kind of arrangement with UKIP.

    That would certainly, and rightly, see Scotland leaving the UK SM and the hardest of Brexits. In trying to prevent what is a mildly social democratic set of policies under a Corbyn led LP the numpties in Progress and Labour First risk taking the country over a precipice. Which, even though they do not realise it, is probably the job they were put in to do in the first place.

    This likely to be a bumpy ride of the sort we have not seen for some time.

  16. More united uk set up by Dan Snow and Paddy Ashdown looks something like a centrist party beginning to me

  17. I wouldn’t worry about it to much they will need the public behind them and I don’t think their will be many who would look at the twice .

  18. Bring on the internecine genocide between factions of any new “centrist” party…..they’ll tear themselves to bits over issues like gender politics while having no clue about the common good. I confidently predict failure because they will all default to managerial methods, They will elect (from within different factions) a not universally popular personality as leader. The electorate will have no significant say in polices, other than rabid remain. And “rationalisation”, “downsizing” and “outsourcing” along with continued dismantling of the welfare state will be the order of the day.Personality politics, managed democracy, corporate interests, doing more with less, outsourcing, frantic squabbling over issues like gender, opinion construction and manipulation, humanitarian intervention…..all funded with a sea of cash from corporate interests.

    As if we didn’t have enough of that already.

  19. I sincerely hope they do split ..
    I’ve been looking forward to it since the last time they staged a coup. Sadly I think we are going to be saddled with them and their desparate attempts to bring Corbyn down. This us when I start thinking why the hell have this destructive group of MPS with their media buddies been allowed to get away with this without a challenge from the leadership..they won’t stop unless we do challenge them with deselection and legal action…so to the leadership I say. get your head out of the stand and stand up to this threat to labour’s existence or more importantly labour’s commitment to left values for the sake of representing the poorest and most discrimation in society.

  20. The MPs that form this ‘new party’ will be RW so they are more likely to split the Conservative rather than Labour’s vote

    1. WE may know they are right-wing, but the whole point is that they themselves – and their media buddies who will of course be doing all they can to assist them in their objective – will be presenting themselves as the ‘moderate’ alternative to that anti-semetic and friend of terrorists Jeremy ‘Corbin’, and his extremist ‘brown shirt’ supporters, etc, etc.

  21. Don’t forget, they’ll also want to poach some from the Tories to show “real centrist credentials” and push the narrative that the other parties are extremist. Would they be crazy enough to make Ken Clarke leader?

    1. I think that Ken Clarke is far too experienced a politician to fall for this nonsense, I may be proved wrong but I can’t see why he would join them. what does he have to gain.

  22. There are – I think – 3 factors behind this move;-

    – a hope that enough voters will be peeled away from Labour in some marginals it will just prevent a majority in the next HoC;

    – the fact MPs who lose an HoC election get “parachute payments” in subsequent years to help with the changes to their income. But you have to stand and lose to get it – refer to Simon Danzcuk for illustration;

    – Most significant, the “Corbyn surge” has been attributed to the legal obligations on broadcasters in election periods for “equal coverage” of the political parties in news programmes.

    A new “centrist party” will claim to command some of the broadcast time that would otherwise feature Corbyn’s Labour in the hope of obscuring Labour’s message.

    They have no realistic chance of holding their deposits; they will fight like rats in a sack; and any female activists will be subject to a perfect storm of slavering nonces acting out their Stuart Hall fantasies, but their aim of marginally eroding the Labour electoral performance to prevent a majority is something they think they can reach, with a HoC pension as a guaranteed consolation.

    The performance of Simon Danzcuk at the 2017 general election is a guide to their prospects.

  23. It is so called “centrist” foreign policy that gave the world “The White Helmets” – a propaganda group offering support to Islamic terrorists and the brainchild of British mercenary and ex-intelligence officer James Le Mesurier. Tonight on Ch4 News it is reported that Israel has “rescued several hundred of them and their families and they are due to be relocated to countries in Western Europe. We already have enough political plotters from other countries here and “centrist” foreign policy is anything but.

    1. Interesting thread here from Vanessa Beeley. I have been reading comments all day that some of these rescued ‘white helmets’ were rumoured to be military and security assets of various states involved in the regime change/balkanize Syria operation. Of course the rest in liberated areas were bussed mainly to Idlib… who knows where they are now and why didn’t these ones from the increasingly liberated south wish to go to their mates in Idlib?.

      The WH have been exposed for what they are for a long time, part of the western led regime change ‘humanitarian’ propaganda arm. Of course MSM and politicians go on with the narrative of them being voluntary heroes… why would Syrian ‘heroes’ have to be rescued from Syria? Even a child would wonder why.
      Syria does have a real Syrian civil defence organisation since 1950s.

  24. A new centrist party will not be centrist. It will be pro-corporate and interventionist in foreign countries. I doubt many of the Lib Dems who want PR, Land Value Tax and so on will vote for what will essentially be a party consisting essentially of the London Blairite dinner party set, The Henry Jackson Society and Notting Hill Tories. Think Mandelson and Osborne on a yacht partying with Saudi royalty and looking at ways to marketise the police and bomb Iran.

  25. My apologies for changing the subject, then again, it IS connected in more ways than one. Anyway, it’s in relation to the Skripals and the ‘Salisbury Poisoning’, and as everyone knows of course, there was endless speculation during the first three weeks or so as to how the nerve agent – which was some days later identified as Novichok – was administered, ranging from in their food to a drone etc, etc, and a couple weeks later it was being widely reported that Yulia could have (unknowingly) brought it with her in her suitcase, and that the Novichok could have been sprayed on to an article of clothing or in a gift (that someone or other had given her). In a Reuters article dated March 16th, the headline reads: Nerve agent planted in luggage of Russian agent’s daughter: The Telegraph, and begins as follows:

    The military-grade nerve toxin that poisoned former Russian agent Sergei Skripal was planted in his daughter’s suitcase before she left Moscow, The Telegraph newspaper reported, citing unidentified sources.


    And then, within the space of a couple of paragraphs, it goes from “WAS planted” (my emphasis) to the following:

    British investigators are working on the theory that the toxin was impregnated in an item of clothing or cosmetics or in a gift that was opened in Skripal’s house in Salisbury, the Telegraph said, citing the unidentified sources.


    So first of all we’re being told that it WAS planted, and then shortly afterwards that it’s a “theory” that “British investigators are working on”.

    Right, so having just done a search this minute for the Telegraph article itself (which I should have done before I started typing out this post!), here’s what IT said in their article on March 15th (eleven days after the alledged poisoning) under the headline: Suitcase spy poisoning plot: nerve agent ‘was planted in luggage of Sergei Skripal’s daughter’:

    The nerve agent that poisoned the Russian spy Sergei Skripal was planted in his daughter’s suitcase before she left Moscow, intelligence agencies now believe.

    Senior sources have told the Telegraph they are convinced the Novichok nerve agent was hidden in the luggage of Yulia Skripal, the double agent’s 33-year-old daughter.

    They are working on the theory that the toxin was impregnated in an item of clothing or cosmetics or else in a gift that was opened in his house in Salisbury, meaning Miss Skripal was deliberately targeted to get at her father.


    As you will no doubt have noticed, the Telegraph has the bit about the nerve agent in its headline in quotation marks – ie >…… nerve agent ‘was planted in luggage of Sergei Skripal’s daughter'<, and then in the article itself it changes to 'intelligence agencies now believe' and that 'they are convinced the Novichok nerve agent was hidden in the luggage of Yulia Skripal', and then finally it becomes a 'theory' that they 'are working on'.

    So what we are being told in effect is that intelligence agencies are 'convinced' and 'now believe' and 'are working on the theory', BUT they HAVEN'T as yet established THAT.

    Now it only makes sense (in the real world at least!) that the Telegraph article was written as soon as they were informed of this by the 'intelligence agencies' or whoever, but how does this sqare with an article in the Evening Standard on March 8th entitled (headlined): Russian spy nerve agent ‘plot’: Investigators begin fingertip search of Russian spy Sergei Skripal’s home

    And the article begins as follws:

    Investigators began a fingertip search of Russian spy Sergei Skripal’s home in Salisbury today as new details emerged of the possible nerve agent used in the assassination plot.

    Forensic scientists were seen bringing in equipment to scour the former double agent’s semi-detached home in a cul-de-sac, as hundreds of detectives and analysts worked on reconstructing the movements of Mr Skripal and his daughter Yulia before they collapsed on Sunday.


    In the real world of course, the forensic scientists and the investigators would have been in the house in a matter of hours once it was established that the Skripals (and DS Nick Bailey) had been poisoned with a nerve agent, and any other scenario is absurd and inconceivable.

    And how does all of the above fit with the widely reported 'news' on April 6th that Sergei Skripal's guinea pigs had been found dead, and his cat in such a bad way that it had to be put to sleep AND that the house had been 'sealed' by the police 'as part of their investigation'.

    And how does THAT fit with this article in the Sun on March 17th:


    Oh what a muddle they have got themselves in to!

    PS Sorry I haven't put links to ALL the articles, but if you put more than one, it has to wait to be moderated.

      1. Pleased to hear it Steve. The contradictions and disparities in their narrative just go om and om and om, don’t they!

  26. I’m with others, here, who’ve expressed the view that, even if this split does occur, there is likely to be a sizeable contingent of like-minded MPs who remain in the PLP both to agitate/sabotage from within and serve as a beachhead to retake control of the party, should their combined efforts succeed in toppling the party’s left wing leadership.

    CLPs must have greater freedom to select/reselect their parliamentary candidates in time for a potential snap election.

    If there is a split, it won’t by any reasonable definition amount to a clear out. It’ll be a cynically calculated ploy, whose only goal is to prevent a Corbyn premiership at all costs; everything else about their platform will be window-dressing.

  27. And then – on March 28th – after weeks of speculation, it was eventually determined that it was the handle of the front door wot done it, and THAT is how all three of them became contaminated and poisoned as such. And how does THAT square with the article in the Evening Standard on March 8th, or with the following article in the Daily Express on March 11th (or any of the articles in my initial post above):


    In the Real World of course, the forensic and chemical weapons experts would have been at the house within hours of it being established that the Skripals (and DS Nick Bailey) had been poisoned with a nerve agent, and the handle of the front door would have been the FIRST thing they checked, prior to entering the house.

    But then this episode DIDN’T happen in the Real World!

  28. We desperately need to be proactive not reactive on this one or it wont play out well they will just help the Tories of course that is there plan.

  29. Good idea for Blairite MPs who know their time is up but is it worth Liberals giving up their candidates? Apart from personal gain what do they get out of it?

  30. As Kay stated above ” CLPs must have greater freedom to select/reselect their parliamentary candidates in time for a potential snap election”

    Absolutely and could this not be put forward as a motion to the Party Conf in Sept , that the re-instatement of the original rules prior to Kinnoks ( Neil ) changes that allowed CLPs to reselect more easily than after he made the changes . This is of the highest priority and will allow the membership to regain some control once more . We have to get the initiative back over this latest ploy being used by the PLP wreckers and take the fight to THEM rather than allowing them to dictate the pace and actions to the membership .
    Its a high sakes gambit I know , but we have to ensure the voters have a real alternative and hope they see the clear difference between this so called new” Centrist ” party of Tory Lite status quo crap and a real Labour Party that represents them and not the elite/corporate/establishment.

  31. I think there is every possibility of this new party attracting many conservative voters. It is sort of UKIP in reverse. It will be solidly remain and solidly conservative.

  32. Going to be fascinating reading if ‘The Blairites Formerly Known as New Labour’ do manage to come up with some sort of manifesto.
    Then they can be challenged to explain precisely how and why their policies and beliefs differ from Labour’s.

    Too different and the obvious question will be, “So why were you ever in Labour instead of the Tories in the first place?”
    Too similar and the reason for splitting is shown up for what it clearly is – petulance, resentment, naked ambition and nothing at all to do with policy or principle.

    Enough of them have delusions about their own personal and leadership qualities that they’ll fight among themselves over everything.

    Jump, you third-rate hairballs.

  33. No “TRUE SOCIALIST LABOUR MP OR CANDIDATE” would go against JC being PM.
    Only those “PRETENDERS, SNAKES IN THE GRASS” who have wormed their way into our party, who have shown their colours, the likes of those who think like Tories and act like Tories should be summerly suspended, investigated, then when they are found guilty, dismissed forthwith!
    They behave in such a way that brings our Labour Party into disrepute!
    Who needs opposition when we have the worst type, from within!
    What business would put up with this type of descent from its workforce?
    Speaking to the boss, with a total disrespect, then think they can get away with their outrageous remarks without having an investigation into their behaviour, then hope they won’t be dismissed by going public!
    “CRAZY”, just to say the least.

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