With a leadership challenge in the offing, @UKLabour calls for a general election…

A few weeks ago, Eamonn McCann reassured the Assembly that the Brexit referendum would split the Tory party apart. He clearly believed (as did many of us) that we were on our way to a Remain vote.

That certainly would have been messy for the Tories, and would not (as David Cameron hoped) necessarily have resolved the matter for a generation. But Brexit is likely to provide the Tories with some substantial closure on the matter.

So instead it is the Labour party that’s headed for a bloody and horribly inconclusive civil war. And Tory politicians like Nigel Evans (on the Daily Politics this am) can barely contain their glee.

There’s talk of legal challenge forcing Corbyn to get the required support of MPs and MEPs (whilst the latter still exist) before he’s allowed to run. Any decision in that regard would be a political one.  And not necessarily helpful to either side.

The party’s membership (albeit it one ‘packed’ with party opponents) is in open revolt against elected members: and one that perhaps needs to be allowed to follow through to its inevitable (if, disastrous) conclusion.

Leading Corbynite Jon Trickett has also just called for a general election [In July? – Ed] Yeah, I know. Presumably in the mistaken (and self-harming?) belief that Britain has a Presidential rather than a parliamentary constitution.

Never mind that Ms May once thought the same, when it was more convenient for her to do so…

I have said before they are now just making it all up.  Theresa May says she doesn’t want one in the short term. But, of course, if a weakened Labour party is giving her an opportunity to strengthen her mandate, the offer may be too generous to refuse.

The fixed term parliament act makes it impossible for any government party to cut and run to the country without the connivance of at least the main opposition party. Indeed, almost every other party stands to profit from Labour’s current confusion and weakness.

She could do with a boost in her mandate for what are likely to be some tricky times ahead.

And Labour? Who knows? More to the point, who cares? Old party loyalists are rallying round Angela Eagle. But it is hard to escape the feeling that she’s little more than a stalking horse to test the appetite of the current membership for change.

An Autumn election for a party which cannot agree on who its leader is likely to a grim affair. But it would at least provide material evidence of whether it still has an offering the electorate are still interested in. Or not.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • hgreen

    A general election is now essential. With the towel folder ditching the economic plans he put to the country a year ago the tories no longer have a mandate. Considering the confusion Labour are in I’d be very surprised if May doesn’t go for it in the early Autumn. Delay and she gives labour a chance to get its act together.

  • mickfealty

    It’s not essential Hugh, not in a parliamentary democracy. Even though the public’s understanding of this is being eroded through the pretence amongst some members of the Westminster bubble that the PM is elected by direct popular choice, it still matters. Fecking unwritten constitutions, eh?

  • hgreen

    Fair enough, only essential in terms of credibility.

  • Roy Reilly-Robertson

    The talk on the Labour side of ‘bring it on, Jeremy will show them with the flood of new members’ is beyond naive. Labour is in no position to engage in an election. Scotland lost to the SNP who stole the Labour clothes and ran away. Wales voting heavily UKIP so much so that even that creature Neil Hamilton was returned on essentially Labour Votes and England riven with the actual divisions between post-industrial post Labour heartlands and middle/professional classes who have retained their notions of collectivism but have little confidence in Corbyn to deliver. The Labour coffers are not bulging with money and the local organisations on the ground are not full of supporters who have any real idea what they are actually doing in coherent political terms. May will wait until it suits her to fight an election but she will have to do so not to ensure the Labour rout (Labour will do that for her) but to try and stamp her authority on that band of members who can still be summed up best in John Major’s words as ‘bastards’. To quote words that are very familiar ‘they haven’t gone away you know……’ They will want to make her their creature and will stop at little to do so not having the restraint of an uncertain election to face. Things do not look bright in many ways at all.

  • dodrade99

    It would only take a simple majority (which the Tories currently have) to repeal the Fixed Terms Parliament Act so Labour’s permission would not be needed.

  • mickfealty

    But to what end would you undo your own legislation, when you have Labour volunteering the necessary 2/3 needed?

  • mickfealty

    It was nonsense in 2007 and it’s nonsense now.

  • dodrade99

    So the (Conservative) PM can get back the prerogative of calling an election in future whenever it is most advantageous for them to do so.

    The FTP Act was only passed to ensure the Con/Lib Dem coalition would last the full term so neither party could cut and run. Frankly I’m surprised the Tories didn’t repeal it straight away once they had an overall majority again.

  • OneNI

    To be fair dear old Eamonn wasn’t the only one spouting on about the Tory Party spiltting only this morning BBC reporters were saying the party was ‘spilt from top to bottom’ – but that was hours ago. Eamonn and others underestimate the Conservative Party every time

  • hgreen

    Only need a swing of a few seats to toss the tories out. This time round I can’t see labour being shy about a pact with the SNP if that’s what it takes. Funds are in good shape with all the new members.

  • hgreen

    Not at all. It’s surely even more critical to hold a GE now to decide who negotiates a britexit.

  • Angry Mob

    Surely the conservatives manifesto pledge to hold the referendum covers this as they were voted back in with a majority.

  • hgreen

    They’re obviously entitled to hang in for the full 5 years however they’ve already tossed their economic plans in the bin. Their manifesto is now essentially void.

  • Teddybear

    From a purely strategic point of view, no better time to declare war than when one’s enemy is incapable of war

    Ergo the inherent and indemic failure of socialism and ‘identity’ politics.

    Funny isn’t it how the only two female PMs of the U.K. are from the ‘unfeminest’ Tory party

  • hgreen

    The left hardly need sexism lessons from the right. The two tory candidates were fighting over motherhood only 24 hours ago.

  • Teddybear

    No greater obstacle to sex equality than women themselves. I’ve noticed that the concept of sisterhood is a myth. They don’t have friendships as such but tactical alliances to fulfill fleeting emotional needs. They’re not mates to each other like blokes are

  • Kevin Breslin

    I want to hear McCann’s Lexit and Tory implosion theories in the context of the here and now.

  • mickfealty

    Cannot see the grounds? Unless you plan to negate the role of Parliament?