Jeremy Corbyn has sent Labour members a defiant message, signalling that he plans to lead the party for as long as they want him to.
After a torrid week swirling with speculation and rumour about whether Corbyn would stand down imminently, the Labour party leader has signalled he intends to stay exactly where he is for the foreseeable future:
Since I was elected leader of our party nine months ago, we have repeatedly defeated the government over its attacks on living standards. Last month, Labour become the largest party in the local elections. In Thursday’s referendum, a narrow majority voted to leave, but two thirds of Labour supporters backed our call for a Remain vote.
I was elected leader of our party, for a new kind of politics, by 60% of Labour members and supporters. The need for that different approach now is greater than ever.
Our people need Labour party members, trade unionists and MPs to unite. As leader it is my continued commitment to dedicate our party’s activity to that goal.
Corbyn also called for unity in a country now “split” by the EU referendum and led by a government “in disarray”:
Labour has the responsibility to give a lead where the government will not. We need to bring people together, hold the government to account, oppose austerity and set out a path to exit that will protect jobs and incomes.
To do that we need to stand together.
Despite the long-planned move to oust him by some of his parliamentary colleagues, Corbyn has the strong backing of Labour party members, unions, Labour voters, vast swathes of the public and, increasingly, local constituencies.
Despite all this, a group of plotting MPs is determined is attempting to ride roughshod over democracy, and seize control of the party. As The Canary’s Kerry-anne Mendoza has written:
The Blairite fringe of the party are attempting to redefine the democratic change of voice in the Labour party as a coup. To do so, they have to ignore several very inconvenient truths.
They have to ignore the fact that when Jeremy Corbyn won the leadership election in 2015, he did so with a bigger landslide than any other leader in history, including Tony Blair.
They have to ignore the fact that since that time, membership of the Labour party has more than doubled.
They have to ignore the fact that despite all their shenanigans, and a unanimously hostile and hysterical mainstream media – the Labour party has pulled ahead in the polls.
They decided to ignore all that, and mount this coup anyway. Despite the fact that the country badly needs a defiant and effective left-wing counter-point to the increasingly dangerous right-wing narrative dominating the Brexit vote, and much of government policy.
Corbyn’s signal that he will stay in position is hugely significant. He will win any leadership election, so long as he is on the ballot paper. And, as The Canary has reported, he will be on the ballot paper unless he resigns. So the Blairite fringe has had to resort to outright bullying to try to humiliate their leader into resigning. His refusal to succumb to their bullying is excellent news for anyone who believes in democracy, or in a progressive future for the country.
Featured image from Flickr/Garry Knight
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