Under Jeremy Corbyn, every Labour quitter’s vote increased

Jeremy Corbyn
Fréa Lockley

On 18 February, seven Labour MPs quit, to stand as independents. By 19 February, Joan Ryan had joined the Independent Group. All eight former Labour MPs have openly criticised Jeremy Corbyn, claiming his leadership is a key reason for leaving. Yet each and every one of them significantly increased their vote share under Corbyn in the 2017 general election.

The numbers don’t lie

So far, each Labour quitter has ruled out calling a by-election. On 20 February, the Times also reported that Labour might be considering “plans to consult on extending the rules” to trigger by-elections “to include an MP changing party allegiance”.

Yet one simple fact remains: in 2017, each Independent Group MP was elected with an increased majority with Corbyn as Labour leader:

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Joan Ryan’s majority boost was similar, with a 14.3% increase.

Not happy

It remains to be seen whether these MPs will face a by-election. But many Labour voters are not happy.

People feel that if these MPs think their increased vote share was nothing to do with Corbyn, then they should be happy to face a by-election:

And some constituents have also spoken directly to the MPs they voted for as Labour candidates:

Labour saw its biggest voteshare increase since 1945 in the 2017 general election. The support Corbyn’s Labour attracted defied early predictions and resulted in a hung parliament.

Now three Conservative MPs – Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and Heidi Allen – have also jumped ship to join the Independent Group. If the defections do force by-elections and voters refuse to back the newly independent MPs, it could tip the balance of the Conservatives’ narrow Commons majority. Eyes on…

Featured image via Sophie Brown – Wikimedia

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