Shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan speaks at the Labour conference in Brighton last year. Photograph: Getty Images.
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Exclusive: Sadiq Khan appointed to lead Labour unit on Green Party threat

Shadow justice secretary tasked with preventing loss of voters to left-wing rival. 

In recent months, Labour figures have become increasingly concerned by the electoral threat posed by the Greens. The growth of the party, which has polled as high as 8 per cent in some polls and has increased its membership by 45 per cent this year to 26,000, is in danger of creating a split on the left to match that on the right. 

Alongside their traditional environmentalist platform, the Greens are promoting policies with strong appeal to Labour voters such as a £10 minimum wage by 2020, a wealth tax on the top 1 per cent and the renationalisation of the railways, branding themselves as "the only anti-austerity party". In close contests with the Tories and the Lib Dems, most notably in London, the level of the Green vote could make the difference between winning and losing. 

In response, I can reveal that Labour's election strategy chair Douglas Alexander has appointed shadow justice secretary and shadow London minister Sadiq Khan to lead a unit on addressing the threat. Khan, a leading figure on the left of the party (he ran Ed Miliband's leadership campaign) and a former chair of Liberty, is regarded by party sources as a figure well placed to reach out to a group of voters who lie to the left of most of the public and who were alienated during the New Labour years. 

That the party has taken the step of creating this role shows just how seriously it is taking the Green challenge (avoiding the complacency that some Tories demonstrated towards Ukip). After being excluded from the broadcasters' TV debates proposal, party leader Natalie Bennett and her colleagues will cite this as further evidence that they deserve a platform alongside Ukip. The Tories, as I noted yesterday, will certainly hope they are successful.  

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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This is no time for a coup against a successful Labour leader

Don't blame Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour Party's crisis.

"The people who are sovereign in our party are the members," said John McDonnell this morning. As the coup against Jeremy Corbyn gains pace, the Shadow Chancellor has been talking a lot of sense. "It is time for people to come together to work in the interest of the country," he told Peston on Sunday, while emphasising that people will quickly lose trust in politics altogether if this internal squabbling continues. 

The Tory party is in complete disarray. Just days ago, the first Tory leader in 23 years to win a majority for his party was forced to resign from Government after just over a year in charge. We have some form of caretaker Government. Those who led the Brexit campaign now have no idea what to do. 

It is disappointing that a handful of Labour parliamentarians have decided to join in with the disintegration of British politics.

The Labour Party had the opportunity to keep its head while all about it lost theirs. It could have positioned itself as a credible alternative to a broken Government and a Tory party in chaos. Instead we have been left with a pathetic attempt to overturn the democratic will of the membership. 

But this has been coming for some time. In my opinion it has very little to do with the ramifications of the referendum result. Jeremy Corbyn was asked to do two things throughout the campaign: first, get Labour voters to side with Remain, and second, get young people to do the same.

Nearly seven in ten Labour supporters backed Remain. Young voters supported Remain by a 4:1 margin. This is about much more than an allegedly half-hearted referendum performance.

The Parliamentary Labour Party has failed to come to terms with Jeremy Corbyn’s emphatic victory. In September of last year he was elected with 59.5 per cent of the vote, some 170,000 ahead of his closest rival. It is a fact worth repeating. If another Labour leadership election were to be called I would expect Jeremy Corbyn to win by a similar margin.

In the recent local elections Jeremy managed to increase Labour’s share of the national vote on the 2015 general election. They said he would lose every by-election. He has won them emphatically. Time and time again Jeremy has exceeded expectation while also having to deal with an embittered wing within his own party.

This is no time for a leadership coup. I am dumbfounded by the attempt to remove Jeremy. The only thing that will come out of this attempted coup is another leadership election that Jeremy will win. Those opposed to him will then find themselves back at square one. Such moves only hurt Labour’s electoral chances. Labour could be offering an ambitious plan to the country concerning our current relationship with Europe, if opponents of Jeremy Corbyn hadn't decided to drop a nuke on the party.

This is a crisis Jeremy should take no responsibility for. The "bitterites" will try and they will fail. Corbyn may face a crisis of confidence. But it's the handful of rebel Labour MPs that have forced the party into a crisis of existence.

Liam Young is a commentator for the IndependentNew Statesman, Mirror and others.