Voting in the Labour Leadership election closed at midday on Wednesday 21 September 2016 and the result will be announced at the Labour conference in Liverpool on Saturday 24 September 2016. Currently all polls predict that the incumbent, Jeremy Corbyn, will retain the leadership, probably with an increased majority on his 2015 success.
Why hasn’t challenger Owen Smith been able to dent Corbyn’s supremacy? His campaign, while hardworking, has been beset with gaffes including the (perhaps unfair) claim that he wanted to negotiate with Islamic State and several instances that were interpreted as casual sexism, such as the remark about wanting to “smash May back on her heels” (an idiom with unfortunate resonances when said by a man about a woman) and his description of himself as “normal”, which was seen to compare his married life with children to his rival leadership contender Angela Eagle, a lesbian with no children.
But those were perhaps insignificant incidents given the way that Labour Party membership has changed under Corbyn, growing from 200,000 at the 2015 general election to 380,000 now. Most of that new membership is supportive of Corbyn, meaning his position is considerably more secure than it was at his 2015 appointment. Although some of those who voted for him then have come to share the view of the Parliamentary Labour Party that Corbyn is unfit to lead, that effect has been outweighed by the peeling off of centrist members and the influx of new Corbyn-supporting ones.
The split between the grassroots of the party and its manifestation in Westminster, which leaves Labour in a difficult position if Jeremy Corbyn is reelected: the leader of the Labour Party may not be able to lead his parliamentary colleagues, since 80 per cent of them voted no confidence in him.