Centrists have proved their agenda once and for all. They will attack Jeremy Corbyn on the EU no matter what he does to try and stop Theresa May’s Brexit. That’s all too clear now Guardian writers and centrist MPs have launched even harsher attacks on Corbyn, even after he backed the Brexit option they most prefer.
What more do they want?
On 27 March, MPs cast non-binding votes on eight options for the way forward on Brexit. MPs could back any number of the motions, which included supporting a customs union or a no-deal Brexit.
For the People’s Vote campaign and the centrists, the motion calling for a “confirmatory public vote” on any Brexit deal was the preferred option. And the Labour leadership issued a three-line whip for MPs to back the motion, in order to, in Corbyn’s words, “stop a disastrous no deal or May’s unacceptable deal”. A three-line whip is the strongest mechanism a party leadership can use to ensure MPs vote a certain way.
Still blaming Corbyn
Even though he pushed for a public vote in the strongest parliamentary terms, Corbyn is still getting the blame from centrists for the loss. Take Chris Leslie, who splintered from Labour to join a centrist parliamentary faction:
Depressing that so many @UKLabour MPs prevented #PeoplesVote securing majority in first round yesterday – including appalling betrayal by @jeremycorbyn allies in his own Shadow Cabinet. Will he take action against them now? Or is nudge-and-wink to hold back all part of his plan? pic.twitter.com/oxxvpZcwTQ
— Chris Leslie (@ChrisLeslieMP) March 28, 2019
Leslie seems to be invoking a conspiracy theory that Corbyn deliberately scuppered the confirmatory vote. Yet the Labour MPs who voted against it are predominantly the opposite of Corbyn’s allies. Take John Spellar, who referred to pro-Corbyn grassroots organisation Momentum as “a Trotskyist rag bag” in 2016. Or Ruth Smeeth, who resigned from the shadow cabinet during the 2016 coup against Corbyn. Or Kate Hoey, who has consistently defied Corbyn to vote with the government on Brexit.
Leslie’s assertion has no factual basis.
Yes… the “mind boggles”
Then there’s Guardian writer Barney Ronay, who accused Corbyn of being “aligned with the far right”:
Yeah imagine finding your interests aligned with the far right and passively waving their special project through. Mind boggles eh
— Barney Ronay (@barneyronay) March 28, 2019
Yet short of revoking Article 50 and overturning Brexit, Corbyn’s Labour supported all the motions to either soften or have a confirmatory vote on Brexit. That’s the opposite of waving what Ronay called the far right’s “special project” through.
In light of the reality, high-profile Remain campaigner Femi Oluwole thanked Corbyn for supporting the motion. He stands in contrast to the pro-Remain centrists who will seemingly bash Corbyn no matter what:
Thanks @jeremycorbyn for supporting the Confirmatory Vote in the indicative votes. I trust that as the option that received the most votes, you will continue to support it as now it is clear that it's a viable option in Parliament. Your members & the country are counting on you.
— Femi (@Femi_Sorry) March 27, 2019
Corbyn, Momentum and… Murdoch?!
Other centrists lined up to attack the Labour leader like clockwork. Ignoring Corbyn’s moves against a Tory Brexit, Tim Walker of the New European grouped the Labour leader in with the DUP and Murdoch:
When I look at the DUP, ERG, Gove, Corbyn, Momentum and Murdoch and the fanstasies they're all playing now, I think of a visit to an X-ray department in a big hospital recently and an old lady on a trolley, alone, frightened, with no one around to help her. That's the reality.
— Tim Walker (@ThatTimWalker) March 28, 2019
Such responses prove once and for all that attacking Corbyn is a key aim of some centrists’ Brexit posturing. The reality has always been the same: there simply isn’t a majority for a public vote in the Commons as yet.
But that doesn’t seem to matter for many pro-Remain right-wingers. They continue to use Brexit as a never-ending stick to beat Corbyn with. Anyone who supports a Labour government must stay vigilant. Amid the Brexit chaos, the establishment will remain focused on the Corbyn threat.
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