Peter Bingle asks why Labour MPs appear disinterested in taking any action to save themselves and their party ahead of the 2020 general election.

Imagine what it must be like being a Labour MP representing a Midlands constituency with a majority of 3,500. I work hard. Every weekend I do my constituency surgery and attend local events. I have great relationships with my major local employers and regularly speak up on the floor of the House of Commons for my constituents. Crucially, I get on well with the editor of my local newspaper.

And yet I am depressed. I am already thinking about new career options post 2020 and had an informal chat last week with a head hunter mate to see if I was still a valuable asset in the jobs market. Perhaps a return to the trade union role from which I started my working life?

Why am I so depressed? The answer is simple. I knock on the doors of constituents who have always voted Labour and when I ask them if I can 'count on their support' they look at me with a mixture of pity and disbelief. What has made them disbelievers? The answer is very simple: Jeremy Corbyn.

Every month I attend a meeting with my local activists. I raise my concerns about Corbyn's unpopularity with our traditional voters and am berated for being disloyal to a leader who has won two stunning victories. After the meeting I go to the local pub and become even more depressed when I am told by the landlord (who is an old school friend) that the Labour Party is finished. I go home, argue with my partner (who has had enough of my bad moods), open a bottle of wine and go to sleep hoping that it is all just a terrible dream.

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Of course, we all know that it isn't just a terrible dream. It is a daily, living nightmare for many the PLP. They already know they have lost their constituency at the next election. So, there is a very simple but profound question which needs to be asked? Why are these 'doomed' Labour MPs doing nothing to change the situation?

Are they fatalistic taking the view that nothing can be done to change things for the better? Are they political cowards who don't have the courage to fight for what they believe in? Or have they simply lost the will to live because they are up against a formidable hard left campaign which is better organised, full of youthful energy and better funded?

What is baffling is why no Labour MP seems prepared to go down fighting for the party they claim to love so much. Perhaps life in Westminster isn't so bad after all if you ignore the comments of the leader and his truly hopeless shadow cabinet and keep your head down? Is there really nobody with the guts to say: 'enough is enough?'

There is surely one option which might work. If a majority of the PLP resigned the Labour Whip and formed an Independent Labour Group they would automatically become Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. Corbyn would lose his six questions at PMQs and the pressure on him to resign would be oppressive. It would probably mean a great many MPs being deselected by their local CLPs but so what? These are already the political equivalent of dead men walking.

So, are sensible, moderate Labour MPs finally going to rediscover some political courage or are their noses going to remain firmly in the Westminster trough until the voters sack them at the next election?

14 votes

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