The final strategic mistakes of Jeremy Corbyn

PUBLISHED: 14:27 01 April 2020 | UPDATED: 16:08 02 April 2020

Jeremy Corbyn speaking at prime minister's questions in the House of Commons (Pic: Parliament)

Jeremy Corbyn speaking at prime minister's questions in the House of Commons (Pic: Parliament)

Parliament

A new Labour leader finally takes Jeremy Corbyn’s place this week - his dogged determination to carry on to the end has been one of his final strategic mistakes.

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No-one could have predicted the crisis the country would be facing when Labour decided to set the close of the leadership contest for this week, but Jeremy Corbyn’s determination to remain in post until Brexit was perceived to be done was another of his leadership failures.

Supporters of Jeremy Corbyn said that what the party needed was stability after the general election, unlike when Ed Miliband resigned straight after the 2015 defeat.

But Miliband’s resignation at least allowed for effective leadership from Harriet Harman until a new leader was found.

Can you remember a single significant moment since the election where Corbyn showed effective leadership?

Instead the Labour leader has helped make Prime Minister’s Questions insignificant week in and week out, trotting out the same lines, failing to land a blow up against Boris Johnson, and leaving audiences distinctly unimpressed.

PMQs could have been an opportunity for the leadership candidates to show that they could have qualities to lead the party and take on the government.

Whether it was Jess Phillips, Emily Thornberry, Lisa Nandy, Rebecca Long-Bailey or Keir Starmer, all could have given a punchier set of questions than Jeremy Corbyn.

But Corbyn’s possessiveness kept them all away from the despatch box - fearing the wrong person might outshine the rest - even when he should have been following government advice over the coronavirus and staying away.


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Instead Labour’s leader will be crowned behind closed doors with all three of those remaining having to record their speeches in advance.

Their coronation will be largely ignored by the wider public, even some media, who all are focused on the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the new leader finally get the job they won’t be able to fully scrutinise Boris Johnson as parliament is now in an extended recess, with no guarantee there will be an appearance in the Commons for the new leader this month.

Right now effective government is needed more than ever, and that includes having a powerful opposition that can hold it to account.

Three months after the first coronavirus case arrived in the UK it feels like Labour is only just getting started, and that is partly down to the final strategic mistakes of Jeremy Corbyn.

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