Letter signed by 2,000 members causes more strife for party leader after high-profile resignations from frontbench over article 50
Jeremy Corbyn is facing a serious revolt by grassroots Labour supporters who backed him to be leader as the party’s crisis over Brexit escalates rapidly.
With more members of Corbyn’s frontbench considering resigning – shadow Welsh secretary Jo Stevens became the first to quit the shadow cabinet on Friday – the rebellion is now spreading among local party members, who are furious at his support for Theresa May’s plans for triggering the article 50 process.
Mr Corbyn is right — for once
Not for the first time in his short career as Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn is facing a revolt from his MPs and from some of his front-bench colleagues. His insistence that Labour MPs back the government’s bill on the triggering of article 50 and his threatened imposition of a three-line whip have gone down badly with some of them.
Article 50, the start of the process of exiting from the European Union, is important. The Supreme Court rightly ruled last week that parliament should have the final say on triggering it but the judges also made clear that their verdict concerned the process, not the rightness or otherwise of the decision taken by voters in the referendum last June.
Labour MPs rebelling against their leader should remember that. For on this, Mr Corbyn has got it right and they have got it wrong. Jo Stevens, who resigned as shadow Welsh secretary over the issue, said in her resignation letter: “I believe that leaving [the EU] is a terrible mistake and I cannot reconcile my overwhelming view that to endorse the step that will make exit inevitable is wrong.” For her, and for some of the other rebels, it is as it seems. Some MPs appear to be clinging to the hope that opposing the article 50 bill will somehow derail Brexit. It will not and the Labour leader knows it.