Sarah Champion won't be the last one to come crawling back to Jeremy Corbyn's shadow cabinet when reality sinks in

It's now almost certain that Corbyn will win the leadership contest – the polls are all showing Smith trailing behind Corbyn like a small child chasing an ice cream van on a warm summer’s day

Anna Rhodes
Tuesday 26 July 2016 15:27
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Sarah Champion
Sarah Champion

After weeks of coups d’etat, “Blairite” insurgencies and even the suggestion that MI5 are co-ordinating the opposition to Jeremy Corbyn (aka certain people donning their tin-foil hats with a surprising amount of pride), we thought the moderate Labour MPs may have gotten it together a bit with so much raw material to work with.

Yet Sarah Champion, who resigned from her post on the front bench less than a month ago, wrote to Jeremy Corbyn this week asking for her role of Shadow Home Office minister back – after betraying him during the “Benn revolt” of June. Yes, she’s managed to pull off that most difficult of manoeuvres, the un-resign.

Let’s remember that on the 29th June, she tweeted: “Jeremy’s position is now untenable if we’re to be effective” and “I can only do what’s right even though it’s breaking my heart.” Evidently, Champion has either had a huge ideological change of mind, or she’s covering her back, as she knows there’s no way that Owen Smith is going to win the leadership contest.

The polls are all showing Smith trailing behind Corbyn like a small child chasing an ice cream van on a warm summer’s day, and it’s safe to say that Champion has decided that there’s no way she’s taking the hit when the shit hits the fan on results day.

A smart move, one would say, considering that Corbyn, backed by his uber-supporters in Momentum, is threatening reselection of MPs following the boundary changes due to be put in place in 2017. With Owen Smith highly unlikely to hustle up the support to unseat Comrade Corbyn from his throne of mandates, it is no surprise that Champion has gotten in there first and graciously returned to the welcoming arms of her leader on high.

But the reality of the situation is that she will not just have to get back in Corbyn’s good books – she will have hundreds of thousands of angry pro-Corbyn supporters to prove herself to. Momentum tweeted “#WelcomeBackSarah”, but the welcome will presumably not be so gracious to all of the former Shadow Cabinet members who come crawling back following Corbyn’s re-election as leader. One can only envisage the smiling faces on the opposition benches in November – Emperor Corbyn flanked by Brutus and the conspirators.

His victory is inevitable, unless the High Court rules to block his contention without 51 signatures, and if this occurs we will be plunged into a civil war that will make Brexit look like an attractive pre-dinner aperitif.

One wonders how many other MPs will trail back over the coming weeks. This of course does not include Andy Burnham, who realised from the off that it would be a disaster to ditch Corbyn while running for Metro Mayor in an area with a strong Corbynite mandate. He was denounced at the time, but it’s highly likely he’ll be keeping his spot at the top table, while the rest will be simmering away with anger on the backbenches, or in the pub if they’re royally de-selected in 2017.

We can only prepare ourselves for more un-resignations (or Farages, as they are now affectionately known), or we can continue to watch a half-empty front bench get slaughtered week by week by the Conservatives. Either way, it doesn’t bode well for the future of the Labour Party, or the future of the country for that matter.

Ah well, popcorn at the ready.

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