We have a convention in the UK Parliament that the leader of the second largest political party of MPs (not if in the government though) becomes the Leader of the Opposition. This brings with it substantial power, privileges, and democratic influence, not to forget of course financial rewards and considerable patronage, doesn’t it?
In the current Parliament while that responsibility has been bestowed on Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, it now turns out that the role has been most wrongly bestowed, as the one now carrying that duty has been simply masquerading since he has recently been shown to NOT be the actual leader of the 232 Labour MPs elected to the House of commons, when some THREE QUARTERS of them WON’T accept him as their boss in the Commons, eh?
While Corbyn with merely a quarter of a million votes behind him, counting both members and ‘dubious’ labour supporters, he delivers a weak unheard voice, conversely the PLP with some forty times as many ‘public’ votes behind them, has a potential extremely strong purposeful voice that is being muted by him.
Now all this leaves the constitutional authorities in a bit of a quandary as to what to do in the matter, doesn’t it? Here we have someone who is a party leader outside the Commons, a sitting MP in the Commons, yet NOT in control of the MPs of the PLP who are constitutionally expected to form the official Opposition to the government of the day, which our parliamentary system entirely relies – therein lies the conundrum.
On a very few occasions a party leader fails to get re-elected to Parliament (like Keir Hardy 1895 & Arthur Henderson 1931), but no problem arises as to whether or not they can act as PM or Opposition Leader as they have no seat in the Commons to allow that, do they?
The current situation with the labour Opposition cannot be allowed to carry on, as it is threatening our very democracy because the Government are no longer being held to account, and that endangers our system of parliamentary government, wouldn’t you say?
Is there a constitutionally easily available solution then? Yes, a glaring one that is open to the powers that be and that simply means turning the clock back to past times when there was no national labour leader, but a chairman of the parliamentary party, who led the MPs in the Commons. The current chair of the PLP is John Cryer who was elected at the start of the 2015 annual session of Parliament – he clearly had then the majority support of Labour MPs in place didn’t he? Now, it may well be under the current circumstances that he should stand-down and that the MPs should have another vote to elect their leader in Parliament and then that person should become Leader of Her Majesty’s Most Loyal Opposition [one can be certain that the person so nominated would NOT be ‘Jeremy Corbyn, would it?]. That is the only person that the authorities should now be allowed to allot the role to, surely?
It would seem appropriate then that PLP’s John Cryer should trigger that change with the House of Commons’ procedural authorities and get us all out of this mess that has been self created by Corbyn by not acting in ways that gave him the support of the duly elected MPs that he has to dependent on to validate his role as Opposition Leader, eh?
The PLP’s problem is analogous to the one facing a gardener trying to remove an unwanted problem causing bough of ivy – you might sever it but it is hellishly difficult to actually pull it out and discard it because the surrounding minor tendrils hang onto it like grim death, don’t they?
[The PLP needs to take positive action immediately to deal with thise blight that has hit them in Parliament, as the problem will certainly not go away with a new national leadership election, since Corbyn has that already sown-up, whatever anyone might hope, wouldn’t you say?]