- Mon Jul 11, 2016 8:22 pm
That rather depends on what the NEC decides tomorrow in relation to the correct interpretation of the party rules. Specifically, whether an incumbent leader is required to obtain the same PLP nominations threshold as other candidate(s).
The rules are appallingly vaguely expressed and arguably are open to either interpretation - namely that a) Corbyn requires PLP nominations to stand, same as any other candidate, or b) that he has special privileges as incumbent leader that mean he can stand without having to bother with PLP nominations.
Clearly, Corbyn and his camp prefer the second interpretation, because with four out of every five Labour MPs having declared him unfit to lead, he is likely to be unable to obtain the nominations from the PLP that he needs to be able to stand - there will be no sympathy nominations this time around. Predictably, the Corbyn fan club have been busy trying to paint the first interpretation as undemocratically keeping their man off the ballot paper, blocking him from standing, and so on. In fact there would be nothing undemocratic about it at all - Corbyn would still have the chance to put himself forward for re-election as leader on precisely the same basis as any other putative candidate. That he is highly unlikely to be able to get past the first stage of being validly endorsed by the required number of PLP members is either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your point of view.
The upshot is that the decision being made by the NEC tomorrow is in effect highly political. Whichever way the decision goes, there may well be legal injunctions that will hold up the whole process, and ultimately an actual, for real split in the party.
The bottom line is that it is all something of a shambolic mess. Littlejohn would say that you couldn't make it up, but we bloody well have done. It is all thoroughly dispiriting.
"The opportunity to serve our country. That is all we ask." John Smith, Leader of the Labour Party, 10 May 1994.