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Corbyn's New Party Unlikely to Dent Labour's Support

Jeremy Corbyn, the former leader of the United Kingdom's Labour Party, has been reported to be looking to set up a new party before the mayoral elections in May. It’s rumoured that Corbyn’s new party will be established alongside ally Laura Pidcock the ex-MP for Durham, although this claim has been refuted by Pidcock on X, formerly Twitter. 

It can be expected that this prospective party will be left-wing, anti-war, and progressive likely to garner substantial media attention. No matter the high level of press coverage a Corbynista party may receive, its electoral impact will be minimal. Political punditry had initially suggested that Corbyn may stand for the London Mayoralty against Sadiq Khan, but these rumours have largely been squashed. The issue with a Corbyn bid to be Mayor was that it would only ever undermine Khan by splitting the Labour vote and increase the, albeit slim, chances of Conservative candidate Susan Hall being elected. Current YouGov polling has Khan leading at 50% and Hall trailing at 25%. Any Corbyn candidacy would only draw away support for Labour and possibly the Greens. Corbyn and his aides likely came to the same conclusion and whatever their gripes with the current Labour leadership deemed it wiser to not risk damaging Khan’s chances at a third term. 

Nationally, the prospects for an impactful Corbyn-led party also ring hollow.

Under Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party, their vote slumped to a mere 202 seats, Labour’s worst showing since 1935. However, the Labour vote suffered less in their English urban strongholds such as Birmingham, Sheffield, and Manchester. Historically, this has always been the way; Labour's support has been concentrated in densely populated metropolitan areas where they pile up huge margins. Where Labour did win they retained those massive margins, take Corbyn’s own constituency of Islington North where he still managed to win twenty-six thousand votes in 2019. 

This should not give supporters hope. Any delusions among Corbyn sycophants that a new party could be their coup de grâce, are tragically farcical.

The fact that Corbyn could retain those massive local electoral majorities shouldn’t fill his supporters with glee but dismay. It plainly exposes two fatal flaws in any new Corbyn-led party: for starters his appeal is confined to constituencies where Labour, as the bastion of progressive politics, has such dominant support this hypothetical party will find it difficult to dent support in any meaningful manner. More broadly, Corbynism has limited national appeal. Out of Britons that voted Labour in 2017 but did not in 2019, 35% state Corbyn’s leadership as the core reason, a survey found. 

Ultimately, as the pendulum swings further towards a Labour victory the fight amongst the two main parties is now for swing voters, none of which will be found on the far left. A hypothetical new party on this wing of British politics may pull some support away from Labour, but many will be so concerned with removing the Tories that they will not risk voting for another left-wing party. 

The knell bell has sounded on Corbyn’s career in British politics. What would normally be celebrated as a lifetime of public service spanning five decades ends in disgrace. From failing to properly denounce, then apologise for clear anti-Semitism within the Labour Party, to suggesting that Russia should verify if they were responsible for the Salisbury poisonings, it has been a bumpy ride for Mr Corbyn. Yet, many will always value Corbyn's leadership, he was the most unlikely of stars in British politics who had an undeniable ability to connect with and champion the struggles of an electorate who too often feel their politicians are out of touch. For giving the disenfranchised a voice, he must be praised. 

Rather than trailing his name further through the mud with some new political outfit, now is the time for Jeremy Corbyn to sail into the sunset. Perhaps chime in on a political debate or two, perhaps advise new progressive talent, but I’m afraid the Corbyn brand has become too toxic to win electoral support. This new party, if it is to be, will do little to amplify left-wing voices in British politics; more plausibly, it would damage the careers and policy aims of those affiliated with the Corbyn name. 

Image: Getty Images/via AFP

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