Lib Dem website hit by abusive tweets

Party’s website carries attack on Miriam Clegg and reports of activist discontent.

After the Tories' "Cash Gordon" campaign was forced off the web by abusive tweets, you would have thought political parties would have learned the dangers of unmoderated Twitter streams.

But clearly not the Lib Dems. Their website currently features all tweets using the #ldconf hashtag but, as the screenshots below show, the comments aren't all flattering.

Tweet

An attack on the leader's wife, for example, isn't the sort of thing most parties want prominently displayed on their website.

Tweet

And there's more, as the screenshot above shows. The former Labour PPC Luke Pollard's tweet on activist discontent also appeared at the top of the site's conference section.

Tweet

Another tweet reported: "#ldconf hall virtually deserted, one activist gave huge yawn." Which isn't the sort of material likely to attract the masses to Conference 2012.

A recent report concluded that Nick Clegg needs more staff to avoid being "overwhelmed", in which case he might want to begin by hiring a few web moderators.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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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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