Development relegates Watson to the outer fringe
A day that looked set to be dominated by Tom Watson’s now-official loss of the confidence of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) and his narrow escape from the abolition of the position of deputy leader has been turned on its head by the party’s announcement that Labour’s position in any new Brexit referendum will be decided at a special conference after the coming general election.
Corbyn’s opponents inside the party – on left and right – had been frantically coordinating an attempt to force the party into a full-remain position at Labour’s party conference, which started today.
But the impact of the news of the special conference – and the fact that Corbyn is almost certain to get his way in what will be a broad vote with all CLPs (constituency parties) having two votes apiece – can be seen in the angry reaction of Labour’s hard-line remainers (and those wanting to use remain as a weapon against Corbyn):
By allocating the matter to a special conference, all the centrist/soft-left manoeuvres for this week in Brighton are nullified – explaining their fury.
With a full-remain position representing the surest way for Labour to lose the next election – and a betrayal of Labour’s working-class base – the news that Corbyn has ensured that the party will fight the general election for the 99% is hugely significant.
Hugely enough to relegate the Lansman-Watson drama, which few were expecting to take place at all until yesterday – to a sideshow, to those who prioritise a Labour government.
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