Analysis Exclusive

Exclusive: leadership challenge prospects firm up as soft-left MPs twitchy over inability to poll ahead of Tories spell danger for Starmer

Soft left MPs’ anxiety over failure to overtake PM responsible for thousands of deaths and economic collapse puts party leader at risk of arithmetic

The anxiety of ‘soft-left’ MPs at Labour’s continuing inability to poll ahead of a Tory party lurching from scandal to scandal is set to combine with the anger of Labour’s left-wing ‘Socialist Campaign Group’ (SCG) MPs to spell trouble for party leader Keir Starmer.

Labour continues to trail behind the Tories, even though Boris Johnson has led the country to tens of thousands of needless deaths and the deepest economic recession among leading developed nations.

Left-wing MPs had already begun to agitate for a leadership challenge after Starmer used antisemitism as a pretext to sack Rebecca Long-Bailey from her education brief after she rowed with him over his haste to push for a return to schools in spite of the concerns of unions and health experts. Their anger has only deepened after Starmer’s lack of serious opposition over a string of serious issues and appalling Tory failings, as well as his decision to finally talk tough over something – and push even harder for a full return to school no matter what the situation next month.

But now soft-left MPs are also becoming increasingly twitchy over Labour continuing to trail behind the Tories – and more than enough are making quiet noises about backing a leadership challenge if the trend continues.

One non-SCG MP told the SKWAWKBOX:

Boris Johnson bears guilt for the appalling handling of the coronavirus outbreak and a lot of the deaths that followed. He can’t even claim he’s saved the economy by letting people die, but we’re still behind. It wasn’t meant to be like this and a lot of people are getting worried.

Certainly enough to take a challenger over the threshold of nominations required to force a challenge under Labour’s rules.

With Starmer showing no sign of changing the trend, the only real question is whether wavering MPs will hold their nerve long enough to see what happens in next year’s local elections, or lose it and back an earlier challenge.

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68 comments

  1. Starmer probably thinks the wisest option is not to commit to anything so he can’t be accused of doing a U-turn later if he needs to change. But that just exposes a cynical lack of principle. Keep your powder dry and it blows up in your face.

    1. It is literally just him hiding what he wants to do. He can’t say what policies he supports because he will lose more votes than he’s already losing.

    1. Last December I attended a CLP meeting at which John Mc Donnell was the star guest. He was there to promote Liam Byrne the “ moderate” former underling to Brown for West Midlands mayor. During the course of the meeting Byrne was trying to reinvent himself as a touchy freely person giving everyone the spiel about his tough upbringing to woo the members. But Bryne was not the only one reinventing him self, Mc Donnell was giving it a good shot. He continually used the mantra of unity whilst omitting the fact that people like Byrne, the “ Moderates, centrists “ Blairites did not have the word unity in their vocabulary. Moreover, he refused to take any questions about the fabricated bs about AS and when one member finally managed to get a question in about the Labour lords refusing to serve under JC did he support him, did he castigate the Labour Lords no he used the flippant remark of “ he would abolish them”. Not on his wooing of the City of London performance he was boasting about at the meeting. Turn coat is the word that comes to mind about the Marxist turned establishment supporter.

      1. brianbotou, your post more than rings true! When asked what we should do about a certain grotesque MP. McD’s response was “work around *****”. Totally in line with what you describe at the CLP.

        By the way, as a rule, i believe that whenever politicians pump out the spiel of “son of a bus driver” “comprehensive education” “postman” all that stuff… BE WARNED. I say tell me your clear policies. Pledge TANGIBLE achievable stuff. … and say when we can expect to see what you pledge, come to life!!!
        Some MPs had tough upbringings and are bastards!!! … including the one McD said we must “work around”. Jeremy did not have a tough upbringing and no one can call him a bastard. So when people carry on like Byrne, we should all think hmmm, next.

      2. Never Marxists. Something else entirely. I am getting closer to the heart of something that is truly vile. ☮️

      3. wobblyjack – I’m sure everyone is eagerly awaiting the conclusion of your investigation.

    2. its the Daily Express for heavens sake wind chimes – We know from experience that nothing is too bad for them to say about us – I don’t believe a word of it

      1. Smartboy, i hope you are right, but it fits with him giving the interview to Arsetair Campbellend in GQ. Plus him whining on radio “We did everything THEY asked” in utter desperation. He never said who “THEY” were and the interviewer did not ask.

        I hope u r right and i’m wrong, but on this occasion, don’t hold your breath.

      2. Smart boy, maybe you should believe it. Bad things are abroad and we are all just letting them evolve. Regards ☮️.

  2. Why do we even HAVE soft left Labour MPs? Every Labour MP should be firm left and firm anti-racist. If that were the case, Labour would be in power now with Jeremy Corbyn as PM.

    1. JackT, spot on! When Red Tory MPs limp on about soft left, ask them what exactly do they mean? Are they only a bit for equality under the law? Like Keith Starmer’s perverted guilt by association, except for corporate manslaughter, or Hillsborough, or Grenfell, or deaths in police custody, or the Pumping of millions to SERCO, Carillon, G4S etc etc etc or publicly ADMITTED Class A Drug taking by Blue Tories like Michael Gove. Oh no no no. You can only be convicted by association, if you are poor… especially if black. And it came to my attention late last year or early this year, that black schoolboys are also being excluded by association. A woman phoned LBC one afternoon and gave a most heartbreaking and shocking account of her son having been excluded in that way.

      But back to JackT’s point, can “soft Left” MPs only tolerate anti-racism discrimination only for one race? Or anti-bigotry sometimes? What they mean is they support “Socialism” only for the one percent. They aim to keep the system as is, or make it even worse for the many who toil for crumbs. They are no sort of “Left”. “Soft Left”, “Centrist”, “Moderate” etc are all confections, lures… in effect lies spinning their Rightwing deceit. Rightwing con merchant slime like Thatcher’s self declared spawn – WMD Blair. Wet spin worse than worthless … eg Sir Keith Starmer’s self-serving drivel 🔵

  3. John McDonnell has been a major disappointment and I suspect one of the main reasons Jeremy adopted his disastrous ‘appease’ strategy which killed any chance of a Labour government.

    1. So how many times is THAT you’ve repeated your ‘appease’ platitude lately? And I see yur doing exactly the same since you recently started posting on JVLs website!

      Repetition – a subtle form of brainwashing – and a favourite of black propagandists!

      Here’s a couple of clips from one of Jack’s posts on JVL:

      Because of Jeremy Corbyn’s eagerness to appease, he must accept some of the blame for Labour’s loss of electoral support. He failed to stand up for those such as Chris Williamson, Mark Wadsworth, Jackie Walker and others who went out on a limb to support him. He gave more support to his enemies than to his friends.

      As soon as they saw he was weak in his opposition to them, they drove the knife in even deeper.

      Oh, if only Jeremy had stood up to them and been STRONG and fought back, they would have all gone running for cover and we wouldn’t have heard another A/S smear peep out of them.

      Or so Jack The Shill would have you believe!

      1. Oh! So no response yet! The shills are obviously still working out between them the best way to ‘respond’!!!

      2. Allan – “Repetition – a subtle form of brainwashing – and a favourite of black propagandists!”

        Perhaps everyone is just bored with your repetitive propaganda

      3. Stop talking out of your arse Allan,then maybe people will engage with you.

    2. It is when the tories decide when labour can run the country for a bit. It makes me laugh about amazement shown because the tories still ahead in the polls putting Starmer in a difficult position. Remind me when did we had a general election where a sizeable chunk of so called? labour voters became turncoats and voted for the tories. It was eight months ago and to the turncoat voters who wanted Johnny Foreigners out of our great country !!! the way they see it to save face is people cant blame the govt for covid 19.. Good heavens it just wouldnt do for the turncoats to now to do a u turn especially as Keir Starmer is a remainer. To the turncoats they rather put up with this appalling govt to get out of the eu. Thats their way of thinking.

  4. “It wasn’t meant to be like this and a lot of people are getting worried.” – Suck it up red Tories!

  5. I know there is a gale blowing hard here, but even a hundred miles from Merseyside, I can hear the noise of the frenzied whistling

    1. No whistling from Merseyside David, frenzied or otherwise. If there’s anyone who knows how much Johnie Mac has let us down, it’s Scousers.

  6. I feel as in some replies above, that John McDonnell has been found wanting. For instance, just imagine you are at work. A colleague comes up to you in a public place and bellows in your face “you are an f’ing anti-semite. You turn to who you think is your best friend, and then find that they state in all the newspapers “oh well, she didn’t understand”..no need to punish etc. I do not know about you, but I would have been devastated by a betrayal like that. To sympathise with someone who was behaving in a downright evil way and not support me… awful. John McDonnell refused to listen to Bill Mitchell, a post Keynesian economist, who met with him two years ago before Jenny Masons parliamentary candidacy launch.. Bill told him to be wary of having a fiscal rule, as it could cause austerity during a downturn. John McD lied after the launch saying that Bill had said that the fiscal rule was “fine.” He had said no such thing and it showed that he either had not understood, or that he was disagreeing. Neither good for a Left wing chancellor. This is all documented on Bill Mitchell’s blog. The interview with Alistair Campbell was just appalling. The Daily Express today…… If I were a left leader of the party, I would not have him in my cabinet. Too humiliating at best, and untrustworthy at worst.

    1. ronald mcdonnell can fook right off, for me, now.hes shot his bolt afaic. There’s been far too much stammer adulation and appeasement from him, for him to be deliberately misquoted as he used to claim happened to him constantly when shadow chancellor.

  7. “With Starmer showing no sign of changing the trend, the only real question is whether wavering MPs will hold their nerve long enough to see what happens in next year’s local elections, or lose it and back an earlier challenge.”

    “Wavering” Labour MP’s make me want to vomit.
    People who wanted office for the benefits, not for the opportunity to press the case for reform of the system. These people clearly have no dedication to anything but themselves.
    I want MP’s like Corbyn whose beliefs DON”T FUCKING WAVER.
    Is that too much to ask?
    Rhetorical question, Allan 🙂

    1. But is it tongue-in-cheek?!

      Anyway David, haven’t you picked up on the fact that Jeremy is weak and cowardly and has no backbone and doesn’t give a fig about his friends and allies like Chris and Jackie etc AND has no problem throwing them under the bus AND is always placating and appeasing his enemies….. SURELY you’ve picked up on all the hundeds of posts that Jack and Joe (Okeefe) and signpost and RH and a few other regular posters have posted on here during the past year or so in which they’ve said precisely THAT, over and over and over and over again?

      Oh, but despite all his NUMEROUS faults that they never tire of telling us about, they think he’s a decent and honest guy with great integrity and wish that he was still our leader blah, blah, blah…….

      In the Real World of course (if THEY were for real), if ANY of the above were true, they would despise him, end of, but they HAVE to pretend they are supporters of his so as to dupe readers of skwawkbox into believing their ‘criticisms’ of him are valid, but what they are REALLY doing is smearing him by confecting faults that are non-existent AND trying to blacken his character in the eyes of the people who read and follow skwawkbox (and other blogs/websites such as JVLs). And they will of course just go on repeating their falsehoods over and over again! Because THAT is what they get paid to do!!

      1. Please don’t anyone think I see Jeremy through rose tinted glasses – I don’t. He’d been marginalised his whole parliamentary career and had no opportunity to learn the skills of leadership – despite that he did an amazing job of bringing in members, holding the Tories to account and making the argument for socialism whenever he had a platform.
        He did grow into the job too, despite how he must have hated making the concessions inherent to leadership of political parties.
        If others hadn’t sabotaged him, he’d almost singlehandedly have won for us in 2017 on a truly socialist manifesto – largely on his personal popularity.

        The PLP filled its panties at how close he came.
        That’s at least as good a legacy as any Labour leader since Attlee – as PM and with a bit of support I believe Jeremy might well have surpassed him.
        I was as baffled as anyone at his constant striving to placate people who would clearly stop at nothing to keep him out of government, but I guess peaceniks like Jeremy instinctively try to make peace. I suspect he was also badly advised.

        Apparently the last thing that shower of shit in the PLP and in Southside would accept was the conscience of the party being its massively popular leader.
        It must have been a total humiliation for the self-regarding pole climbers to have to defer to a mere backbencher they’d never thought of as competition for the heights, who’d leapfrogged them all and was having thousands of young voters singing his praises wherever he went.
        Eat shit and die, Blair and the rest of Thatcher’s poodles.

    2. PS Their goal – ie their objective – is to have YOU – the readers of Skwawkbox – despise Jeremy, and THAT is precisely what all their falsehoods are designed to do, and Why they repeat them over and over and over again.

      1. Allan – Is the self parody intentional or just another confirmation of you profound lack of self awareness?

      2. Allan Howard, why do YOU repeat what you have already stated at considerable length?
        Why do you feel pointing out, even grieving aloud re the failure to deal appropriately with Starmer & Co = “despise Jeremy”?

        Do you believe Skwawkbox would allow a despiser of Jeremy to repeat “falsehoods”? Is the mark of a good friend one who says: Allan you are always 100% right, faultless, perfect…immaculate, keep doing exactly as you have done for 80 years??? Can’t do any better???

        AH, it is not rocket science that your attitude is unhelpful to progress, improving, doing things better, ie learning. I joined Labour BECAUSE of Jeremy. I saw the likes of Starmer had nothing to offer and were determined to sabotage the party to crush Jeremy. PLUS, they said so OPENLY.

        Anyone AH, who after even three months, let alone NINE, are hooked as you are to the laughable idea that there was no alternative to appeasement, DESPITE the results, is either 1️⃣ so traumatised by the experience that they are in need of URGENT help.

        Or 2️⃣ Were in need of help LONG BEFORE the last four plus years. Or 3️⃣ Do not want to be helped because they believe they are infallible. Or 4️⃣ Tried to get help but was unreachable, unreachable … resistant to fresh perspective.

        Or 5️⃣ Interprets constructive analysis and feedback that is not cult like adoration as sacrilege. Or 6️⃣ Remarkably ALL of the above and so 7️⃣ their abilities and talents are best deployed elsewhere ie NOT in countering the super organised and funded entrenched agents of the same old same old ONE PERCENT parasites.

        Without honest CRITICAL reflection and deep CHANGE in “Left” attitude / culture, things will remain the same even with a membership of over half a million WILLING people!!!

        It is beyond obvious, that if after having attracted a membership of close to 600,000, the LARGEST in Europe, there remained to the very end an inexplicable COMPULSION to sacrifice two or three thousand innocent members to appease those who declared openly that they were “working night and day to destroy Corbyn”, THAT AH was a GROSS STUBBORN FAILING. Very much as you portray Allan a stubbornness a determined resistance to an alternative approach. NB APPROACH not aims. From your posts, i feel we are very much on the same page. And that unnecessary friction / taking offence etc seems familiar.

        To give positions to creatures who openly signed up to “Stop Corbyn” just so as to worship at the disgusting altar of the “Broad Church” took for granted the support of 600,000 members and millions of the electorate. It is folly to fail to grasp the definitive failure of catastrophe. No?Allan Howard? ? How many more months do you need to acknowledge that ? ? ?

        QUESTION: What exactly do you gain from fighting against facts? How exactly does that help you, Jeremy or anyone who wants to change the status quo ? ? ?

        Surely it is wise to subject ourselves to assessment. Surely achieving successful sustained POSITIVE change is what we need rather than a crazed … inexplicable determination to persist for 70 or 80 years to eat soup with a fork.

        Even forking soup may eventually bring some success. Appeasement on the other hand never does. Further, seeing that your quite bizarre defence of the extraordinary appeasement fiesta persists, perhaps you had Jeremy’s ear, and you contributed to the failure to change tact. Now you rightly find the defeat to the vision free, integrity cesspit that is SIR Keith so distressing, that your impulse is to go berserk attacking anyone who even tries to give you a spoon with which to have your soup.

        GET HELP ALLAN!!! Your brain and tenacity is otherwise excellent. Your obsessive nature is your superpower!!! Free yourself to pursue aims which bring improving change. Jeremy’s decency needs little protection, let alone your extraordinary crusade. Even his enemies know it. That’s why they said they “worked night and day to stop him”.
        🌹🌹🌹

        ps only intended the first paragraph😂😂😂

      3. Incisive insight AND exactly right about the command and control centrists needing to get us (those who endorse the ‘Corbyn Project’) to blame him personally for his ( ie our project’s) failings.

      4. Just for the record, notice how Mr McNiven completly avoids the ‘throwing good people under the bus’ cliche! And he obviously spent a long time crafting his ‘response’, which was ALL centred around his line about Jeremy placating his enemies – ie “I’m as baffled as anyone……”.

        It’s funny how in a post four or five months ago – in response to Jack T – Mr McNiven acknowleged that Jeremy is in a no-win situation in effect. Did Jeremy ‘placate’ the former staffers who participated in the Panorama hatchet job, OR the program itself? No! BUT, needless to say HE got reams of flak for it.

        The whole of the left is being duped by a massive psyop by numerous paid shills on left-wing blogs endlessly repeating falsehoods about Jeremy concocted and designed to paint him in a bad light. Please ask yourself how it is that there are all these obviously v intelligent people posting on skwawkbox every single day all day long, and HAVE been for a year in a couple of cases, and two to three years or more in other cases! Yes, it’s because they are paid shills!

  8. This piece is about a potential leadership challenge. As usual the comments go up a cul de sac very quickly. Who is in the frame to replace Starmer? Is there enough groundswell? Does Ian Lavery deserve a second chance?

    1. I don’t see the point in bothering, frankly.
      With only 15 – 20% of Labour MP’s being left wingers and the rest being either limp windsocks or full-on neo-Tories, Labour is dead to me.
      Time for a new party of the real left.
      Covid job losses may still be an issue as AI job losses grow, possibly in this decade – that seems likely to shift populations leftward however much propaganda the right pump into them.

    2. Who is in the frame to replace Starmer?
      Nobody, that’s a problem the self appointed guardians of ‘the left’ haven’t quite sussed out yet.

      Is there enough groundswell?
      No, If there was we’d see an emerging coalescence around some potential leaders.

      Does Ian Lavery deserve a second chance?
      Why bother, he didn’t attract much support when he tried flying his kite the first time round. I remember that Barry Gardner was also suggested as a possible candidate for the left, he didn’t attract much interest either.

  9. It’d be great to see the back of the elitist careerist twunt, and even greater and a decidedly fitting epitaph to see him cop for the unenviable record of lasting even less than dummkopf-schmitt did as toerag leader. (The ONLY thing dummkopf-schmitt EVER got right was calling stammer a: ‘second rate lawyer’.)

    But it’s not happening. And it won’t. There’s too many steve h’s in that party.

    1. All lawyers are second rate and there are far too many of them in politics.
      Lawyers care nothing for what’s right – they only care about winning, right or wrong.
      They learn in junior debating society how to argue forcefully for positions that are anathema to them – a fitting enough education for lawyers and politicians in a corrupt system like today’s, but no basis on which to run anything that isn’t corrupt.
      Why would anyone expect society to improve with people in charge who are the antithesis of the values we teach our children – honesty, sharing, generosity and consideration for others?
      Who teaches greed to their children? Tories, presumably.

      1. The Labour Party. Confused?…………you will be.
        What & who are ‘Soft Left’ Labour MPs?
        Is it true or just an empirical fact that you have to become a solicitor B4 U can become a Labour MP?
        If the Labour Party membership are so ‘left wing’, why did Dennis Skinner & Chris Williamson lose their seats?
        Is criticising Jeremy a mortal sin? Does it mean that you don’t love Jeremy anymore & you’ve stopped being a Socialist?
        Who exactly are the Socialist MPs in the Labour Party & why are they so silent?

  10. I think it might be time to revive the ancient idea of a triumvirate to lead the party.
    For me it’d be Jeremy and a renowned MMT economist as permanent members and one other I haven’t arrived at yet – perhaps drafted in as required by the issues facing the country at any given time.
    At this time the third might be someone at the top of the logistics industry who can analyse Tory failings on coronavirus.
    It might be a useful expertise on a permanent footing, I don’t know, but governing a country is largely an exercise in logistics I think.
    It would be useful if they were able to speak in parliament but not essential – they’d be able to represent the party in the media which is where the influence lies anyway – and I do mean lies.

    Just a thought I woke up with – I’m not wedded to it.

  11. If this is the beginning of a leadership challenge, has anyone checked where the International Rescue puppet (David Thunderbird Miliband) is – cos the command and control centrists are nothing if not followers of a script- and the wrong brother has already been cast/scripted as the saviour of Central Park labourism.

    1. He did always look kind of uncoordinated didn’t he – when he was photographed eating that bacon sandwich he looked exactly as if the string working his head and the one working his arm had got knotted together somehow.

  12. No need to check. Thunderbird David is probably being inflated by WMD Bliar at this very moment. Please excuse my typos.

  13. There are way to many queer fish on here
    Apparently the Scottish referendum, Brexit and Covid19 were straight fights between good and evil, socialists and capitalists
    Now MMT Magic Money Tree is the go to economic solution for snowflakes, despite it never being tried on this planet or any other
    And for why, do we not have enough history telling us what works, what imaginary problem does it solve, we had some kind of progress when it was pointed out that dyed in wool Austrian school of economics follower Max Keiser is saying what we have now bares no resemblance to capitalism,
    printing money to infinity and beyond and negative interest rates, all you are fighting over is who gets the benefit of the Ponzi scheme
    More Money Thanks
    I fecking give up when you cannot see your both pissing in the same pot

    1. MMT describes how the monetary system works. Have you not noticed the billions that are bestowed on Serco, Branson, and private health companies? That’s MMT at work. We want MMT to work for the people. John Maynard Keynes and Abba Lerner, Kalechi, and many others all knew how the Monetary system worked. The neoliberal politicians lie to us because they work for the rich and themselves. When they say there is no money, they lie. There is plenty if you are Serco, or some other rich baron. Remember what Keynes said, “print money and hide it in bottles in coal mines, and euthanise the rentier.” Without this undersatnding your faith and grasp of the need for socialism will always be shaky.

    2. Smarter people than me say MMT isn’t some airy-fairy pipe dream as you apparently believe – it’s simply a less erroneous and more useful description than ‘tax and spend’ of the way economies actually work.

  14. The day socialism needs a ‘Magic Wand’ then we are truly banjaxed
    How about sorting democracy, free press, class system and money that cannot be corrupted by gutless and spineless politicians

  15. Please, could anyone confirm if Twatson has secret meetings with that Prime Minister in waiting, Jo Swinson, to stand as a Lib Dem? Won’t be surprised if true. Yet, may be quite funny… well hilarious, if Swinson thought their must be standards below which EVEN Limp Dims would not stoop. And if the secret meetings are true, then it is proof of Twatson’s sharp political judgement in seeing PM substance in Jo Swinson. Just like Chukka Ummuna, Luciana Berger, Anna Soubrey, and the rest of the ship jumping rejected trash!!! Funny how we are yet to see the wall to wall coverage of the public dumping them. Ayesha Hazurika in particular have them, especially Berger, endless uncritical coverage when ever she guest presented on LBC. How’s that for punditry Hazurika??? At least Jeremy has an excuse having to fight enemies without and within. What excuses do your vision free, sewage ethic, self serving, careerist pets have❓❓❓

  16. … if Swinson thought THERE must be standards …
    I’m disappointed in myself that my many typos are noticed after posting!!! Shame on me. Apologies +++

  17. Swinson refused to enter into pact which would have temporarily put Corbyn into no 10, which then forced the GE19.She chose campaign on revoking Article Section 50 She was the Business secretary in Tory/Lib Dem pact. She was handsomely rewarded by BJ for her effective sabotage of any possibility of any hope of anything other than a Tory victory.
    Fits nicely into the jigsaw and conspiracy. I hope she is satisfied with what she has achieved for the country.

  18. I don’t think that her sabotaging days are over. Heaven knows what is going on over the dessert. Does the maid of Orleans stare deeply into his food specked, flapping jowels and offer untold pleasures, ludo, cluedo and pick-up-sticks in return for his loyalty to the end. Pip Pip. ☮️

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