It’s kind of an open secret in Westminster these days that Labour MPs whom after this week we could slip into the categories labelled “hostile” and “core group negative” (and perhaps those 17 MPs who didn’t even get categorised at all by Corbyn’s crew) are serious about attempting to defenestrate Jeremy after the EU referendum. The idea is that the local elections in England, the Scottish parliamentary elections and the Welsh Assembly elections go as badly as expected in early May, the groundwork is then laid so that after the European sweat is out of the way, the resistance stages its long awaited coup. However, as I have said many times previously there are several problems with this plan of action. One is that Labour is really bad at getting rid of leaders; they generally only go either at a time of their own choosing or after a general election drubbing. Another difficulty is that Jeremy will probably be able to get back onto the ballot in this new leadership contest – and that he would then probably not only win again, but just may be able to do it with an even larger majority, something that would be terminal to any hopes of getting rid of Corbyn before Labour gets mauled in a general election.
Now it’s being whispered that there might be yet another problem to consider: the Chilcot enquiry, having been a work in progress over several political mini-epochs already (the coalition came and went with no sign of it), may be set to land at precisely the wrong time for the Labour rebels. So a report that will either be very bad for Tony Blair or just fairly bad pops its head up at a time when his wing of the Labour Party wants to make its move. I can see why it wouldn’t be considered a good look.
Here’s the thing though: there have been rumours that Chilcot is immanent many times previously. It has become like a plot device out of Beckett play. So I don’t think any plans should hinge on its supposed appearance. Also, either this is the time to save the Labour Party, or it isn’t – and if it is, no excuse really washes, Iraq related report or no Iraq related report. The MPs involved should all be able to create a narrative that moves on from Blair anyhow, if they want to have any hope of winning the leadership again.
But it may be enough to scare the horses in the end, the whole “Chilcot is coming” thing. It would be sad indeed if the report Gordon Brown commissioned was another footnote in the ultimate demise of the political party he so loves.