Labour’s left had an excellent election

Party’s most prominent lefties were returned with increased majorities.

One of the notable trends from this election is that Labour's left-wing MPs performed disproportionately well. Not one of the 13 members of the Socialist Campaign Group lost his or her seat, and several increased their share of the vote, against expectations.

In London, Jeremy Corbyn, MP for Islington North, increased his majority by 3.3 per cent to 12,401 and Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North, increased her share of the vote from 49 per cent to 55 per cent.

Elsewhere, John McDonnell, the chair of the Socialist Campaign Group and a former party leadership contender, saw his majority fall by only 1.6 per cent to 10,824 in Hayes and Harlington. And Kelvin Hopkins, MP for Luton North, increased his majority by 0.7 per cent, winning by 7,520 votes.

In part, this reflects Labour's generally impressive performance in the capital. The Tories achieved a swing of just 2.5 per cent and won 28 seats, ten fewer than Labour.

But I think it also reflects how voters tend to reward more independent-minded candidates and those who vote against their own party when necessary. And it is further evidence that the public is well to the left of Labour on Afghanistan, privatisation and inequality.

The party's new MPs should take note.

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George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Supreme Court gives MPs a vote on Brexit – but who are the real winners?

The Supreme Court ruled that Parliament must have a say in starting the process of Brexit. But this may be a hollow victory for Labour. 

The Supreme Court has ruled by a majority of 8 to 3 that the government cannot trigger Article 50 without an Act of Parliament, as leaving the European Union represents a change of a source of UK law, and a loss of rights by UK citizens, which can only be authorised by the legislature, not the executive. (You can read the full judgement here).

But crucially, they have unanimously ruled that the devolved parliaments do not need to vote before the government triggers Article 50.

Which as far as Brexit is concerned, doesn't change very much. There is a comfortable majority to trigger Article 50 in both Houses of Parliament. It will highlight Labour's agonies over just how to navigate the Brexit vote and to keep its coalition together, but as long as Brexit is top of the agenda, that will be the case.

And don't think that Brexit will vanish any time soon. As one senior Liberal Democrat pointed out, "it took Greenland three years to leave - and all they had to talk about was fish". We will be disentangling ourselves from the European Union for years, and very possibly for decades. Labour's Brexit problem has a long  way yet to run.

While the devolved legislatures in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales will not be able to stop or delay Brexit, that their rights have been unanimously ruled against will be a boon to Sinn Féin in the elections in March, and a longterm asset to the SNP as well. The most important part of all this: that the ruling will be seen in some parts of Northern Ireland as an unpicking of the Good Friday Agreement. That issue hasn't gone away, you know. 

But it's Theresa May who today's judgement really tells you something about. She could very easily have shrugged off the High Court's judgement as one of those things and passed Article 50 through the Houses of Parliament by now. (Not least because the High Court judgement didn't weaken the powers of the executive or require the devolved legislatures, both of which she risked by carrying on the fight.)

If you take one thing from that, take this: the narrative that the PM is indecisive or cautious has more than a few holes in it. Just ask George Osborne, Michael Gove, Nicky Morgan and Ed Vaizey: most party leaders would have refrained from purging an entire faction overnight, but not May.

Far from being risk-averse, the PM is prone to a fight. And in this case, she's merely suffered delay, rather than disaster. But it may be that far from being undone by caution, it will be her hotblooded streak that brings about the end of Theresa May.

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.