Web Only: the best of the blogs

The five must-read posts from this weekend, on the polls, Peter Watt and Stormont politics

1. Latest ICM poll shows little impact from Hoon-Hewitt

At UK Polling Report, Anthony Wells analyses the latest ICM/Sunday Telegraph poll results, which he says may have come too soon to give an accurate measure of fallout from the Hoon/Hewitt plot.

2. Ulster puritanism caught with its pants down

The recent difficulties faced by Iris Robinson and Gerry Adams have provided a puritanical scandal, says Michael White, blogging at the Guardian.

3. Tennant: I want the cleverest person in the room as PM, not someone who looks good in a suit

The Timelord is not your usual political commentator. Nonetheless, Alex Smith at Labour List tells us, the ex-Doctor Who star David Tennant has expressed his support for Gordon Brown. Will others from the arts follow suit?

4. How will the Tories use the Watt claims?

Mike Smithson at Political Betting speculates on how the media will respond to Peter Watt's revelations -- which diverted attention from fresh criticism of Brown by Geoff Hoon.

5. Revealed: the Lib-Con pact election poster

Stephen Tall posts an election poster from more than 50 years ago on Liberal Democrat Voice.

 

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Will Jeremy Corbyn stand down if Labour loses the general election?

Defeat at the polls might not be the end of Corbyn’s leadership.

The latest polls suggest that Labour is headed for heavy defeat in the June general election. Usually a general election loss would be the trigger for a leader to quit: Michael Foot, Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband all stood down after their first defeat, although Neil Kinnock saw out two losses before resigning in 1992.

It’s possible, if unlikely, that Corbyn could become prime minister. If that prospect doesn’t materialise, however, the question is: will Corbyn follow the majority of his predecessors and resign, or will he hang on in office?

Will Corbyn stand down? The rules

There is no formal process for the parliamentary Labour party to oust its leader, as it discovered in the 2016 leadership challenge. Even after a majority of his MPs had voted no confidence in him, Corbyn stayed on, ultimately winning his second leadership contest after it was decided that the current leader should be automatically included on the ballot.

This year’s conference will vote on to reform the leadership selection process that would make it easier for a left-wing candidate to get on the ballot (nicknamed the “McDonnell amendment” by centrists): Corbyn could be waiting for this motion to pass before he resigns.

Will Corbyn stand down? The membership

Corbyn’s support in the membership is still strong. Without an equally compelling candidate to put before the party, Corbyn’s opponents in the PLP are unlikely to initiate another leadership battle they’re likely to lose.

That said, a general election loss could change that. Polling from March suggests that half of Labour members wanted Corbyn to stand down either immediately or before the general election.

Will Corbyn stand down? The rumours

Sources close to Corbyn have said that he might not stand down, even if he leads Labour to a crushing defeat this June. They mention Kinnock’s survival after the 1987 general election as a precedent (although at the 1987 election, Labour did gain seats).

Will Corbyn stand down? The verdict

Given his struggles to manage his own MPs and the example of other leaders, it would be remarkable if Corbyn did not stand down should Labour lose the general election. However, staying on after a vote of no-confidence in 2016 was also remarkable, and the mooted changes to the leadership election process give him a reason to hold on until September in order to secure a left-wing succession.

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