Can Labour reunite to take on Boris Johnson?


Today can labor overcome its divisions to face down Britain's new conservative prime minister and as Boris Johnson carries out a brutal reshuffle of his Cabinet Sonia Soda on what we learned from his first Downing Street speech from now on it is Jeremy Corbyn. Eh Boris Johnson Jones but as parliament breaks up for the summer the Labor leaders ability to oppose his new conservative rival has been hampered by deep divisions on his own side. He's faced anger over brexit job. SFU's Brexit Brexit is at odds with Labour's international fury over the handling of Anti Semitism within the Labor Party at is now commonplace is more conspicuous and is more corrosive with some describing it as a civil war that pits the party leader against his deputy Tom Watson from the Guardian. I'm a niche Gristana today. InFocus can the Labor party reunite to oppose Boris Johnson said Plus The Guardian and you spend a lifetime in parliament take up to Jeremy Corbyn Office Jeremy Corbyn Squat lucky man really he has a suite of officers always allocated to the leader of the opposition party and `and he has cozy office with lots of sort of photographs in you know even campaigning and artworks and he has a beautiful view of the Thames and across the river and outside of that is a much bigger the office of airy room where a lot of his staff and advises sit including his to sort of key left tenants really I suppose you would say carry Murphy and shameless moon and who they the pair of them together Oh absolutely key to sort of helping to form Jeremy Corbyn Strategy and his relationships with the White Party. I think carry Murphy is she's quite colorful characters. She's a former nurse especially Jeremy coping sort of gatekeeper. He's enforcer. She has some of the difficult conversations I think that he doesn't like having he's not somebody. Particular conflict unlike telling people often like sucking people any of those things she's the woman who's out there sort of managing the team but also reaching out into into this'll shutt- cabinet and the Wind Party and sometimes talking tough on behalf of the leader I think and shaves mil well formerly of this parish of course used to be got in journalist for many years and he's famously bright charming he has quite left-wing views as this Jeremy Makobane of course and he sometimes features in sort of media coverage. Is this rather shadowy mysterious figure who sir kind of puppet master for the Labor leader almost so inside the bustling office. How do they react to Boris Johnson's victory double-edged for them so they quite pleased in the sense that you know Jeremy Corbyn is to portray himself in an almost populist way is being for the ordinary people and against the elite an boys is Johnson very easy to caricature? He's He's Etonian. He's Porsche. He wanted to be pirated five or six or whatever and he's quite easy for Labor to attack. It's quite easy disease it kind of exemplar of exactly the sort of system that we want confine overthrow I stress. I don't believe that economic equality is possible indeed. Some measure of inequality is essential for the spirit of envy and keeping up with Jones on that is a valuable spur to and economic activity on the other hand think Jeremy Corbyn was a brilliant candidate to one against Theresa May in the two thousand seventeen general election campaign because she's very wooden. She's not authentic. She's not comfortable in their own skin. Johnson is a very good campaigner and that may prove more difficult for Jeremy Corbyn because being a campaign is one of his strengths and so right now when they tend their attention to their own party to M._p.'s two pairs to members. What is the scene in front of them well? It's very bitter. It's back to I would say the sort of toxic tone that we saw in the wake of the Referendum in two thousand sixteen when there were mass resignations from the shadow cabinet there is this sense I think in Lotto is is called the leader of the opposition's office that a lot of the wider parliamentary party would like to sort of overthrow Jeremy Corbyn would like to shift the party back to a different bit of the political spectrum and so. I think there's a bit of a bunker mentality. I think it's fair to say <music> where going to labor now. Civil war rips apart captive Corbin's team in the media people are describing this civil war. I mean is not what it looks like to them. And if so who do they see as leading the revolt. Will they tend to see Tom Watson who is because Jeremy Corbyn deputy never exactly brothers-in-arms the two men at the top of labor have one thing in common they were both elected to their posts. It means Tom Watson copy sacked and can speak his mind. I mean he's he's long been a sort of pantomime villain. Almost for the left of the poverty and you know whenever there's any shenanigans going on the assumption is always that tone what's is behind it but they certainly see quite a lot of what's been happening in recent days over the issue of antisemitism over the issue brexit as being in some way stirred up in stoked by him in order to dislodge Jeremy Corbyn from the leadership. I'm remember there was a leadership challenged right in two thousand sixteen and there was a coordinated effort to dislodge him so it seemed like paranoia but actually chain quite good cause for in the boss yeah reason for paranoia but there is a shift among his big supporters as well. I mean I saw some polling recently from Yougov of members that showed you know huge plus sixty five satisfaction action right back in two thousand eighteen and although the members still are more likely to say he's doing a good job than bad that had really fallen to plus nine is the cooling off even from those who support him so. I think what's probably done that is the Brexit the issue which cuts Roy across the sort of left right divide Jeremy Corbyn digging go into politics to try and do brexit or stopwrecks is not something you particularly wants to be spending his time talking about. He wants to transform the economy and those issues that brutal. Rule those young men those into the Party and of course remember members extremely important they get the choice between the candidates for leaders they get the final decision about whether Jeremy Corbyn remains in his job but I think many of those people are quite remaining and under careful line that parties towed over the last three years since the referendum. I think probably alienated some of those people and giving more power to those members is incredibly important to Jeremy Corbyn. I mean I remember being in his office race with you. When we were doing an interview and he took us to the window and he looked over the river and he pointed out at the building where he said the Campaign for Labor Party democracy was born those are Jeremy Corbin's Roussin may campaign to give more voice to the members absolutely and it was the campaign of Tony Benn who was one of his great political heroes mental illness for many years and it's absolutely been part of his project is handing more power back to the members although interestingly of course host the members at very clearly in in a pro remained position and have been for some months and he's taken the leadership the front bench quite a long time to which towards that position so that's that sometimes made him look less than five party democracy than he's always seem to the past and maybe because of that gap between the members and Corbin? Some of his allies are pretty cynical about Tom. Watson's passionate remain position. Do you think he believes in it. I think he does believe in it. I think it's also an issue on which clearly clearly as we were saying the labor membership who are crucial determining who the party's leader is feel very differently to Jeremy Corbyn and not not in June with Jeremy Corbyn and so <hes> you know those around Jeremy we see it as believed that Tom Watson using this as a as a wedge as a way of separating the membership from the leadership and to be clear Tom Watson's position isn't just remain in a referendum on a Tory brexit. It's that Labor must simply be the party of remain yeah and it's he's sort of done videos where he said this position out with a sort of you know moving orchestra soundtrack future doesn't need to be Brexit we could change the future. Giving speech is talking about Labor's values are remain values that starts the kind of party that we are and it's interesting because homelessness to some extent stuck his neck out here but there were others in the shadow cabinet so we've taught mentioned case Dharma and Emily Hungry similarly have have been more vocally pro remained than than Jeremy Corbyn has been able to and this is one position in which there has even been divide between him and John McDonnell who's based in just a few yards down that corridor that you were describing to us at the beginning I mean is this the first sign of a kind of division at the top of the party. When I think that's been really interesting about brexit it's caused huge schisms in both main parties right but it comes across the traditional left right divide and it's not just about pressure from within Labor that you've been outlining? It's also about pressure from the Lib Dem's for example who have soared in the polls with a anti brexit exit strategy that it sounds like their new leader Joe Swinson is going to continue whatever it takes to stop brexit. Maybe the results about Labor has now shifted its position position. What's happened yes so there was a shadow cabinet meeting couple of weeks ago that signed off a new policy which the party's been edging towards? I think for quite some time in the wake of the European parliamentary elections which was a terrible night for labor polled fourteen percent of the vote Jeremy Corbyn started to say that he would like to see a referendum on whatever brexit dear wind up with. I think we do have a responsibility to listen to what everyone one has to say. A new tool that there is a an agreement made and that is then put to public vote that policies now being sort of formerly cemented and they've taken the next step which is to say in that referendum. Should it be called in the next few months on a Boris Johnson awesome deal for example we will come pain remain in that that felt like quite a big moment in terms of the sort of evolution of the party's policy of the last three years I mean her heart was that to stomach Jeremy Corbyn well. It's hard to know right because the has been an argument that that Jeremy was ready to make the shift sometime ago bought there were these advisers on the outside shameless and career and others who were resisting it very fiercely uncertainly brexit had become an issue that divided Jeremy Corbyn very very close allies so in he sort of Inner Circle Diane Abbott and John McDonnell who've been part of political project for decades. We're very keen to to move faster on this and to move to that remain position earlier into sort of staunch the cleaned within the party and move onto those other issues they would rather talk about but there were others who say it's absolutely jobe copen himself. It's nonsense flaming on the advisers. It's him who has been a as you say a lifelong eurosceptic never been keen on the project and actually would like brexit happened so he can get on talking about the issues he's really interested in but they have shifted they have got to that position of a referendum auditory brexit in which they'd campaign for remain has that put this too bad for Labor. No so it's pretty it's bad for now because even those who were quite open in vociferous in wanting to party to shift so for example the sort of young left-wing Labor M._p.'s who formed this group Love Socialism hate brexit you know sort of supporters Jeremy Corbyn who felt he was in the wrong place on this this. This line is compromised a satisfied them for the moment but it doesn't say anything about what Labor do in general election remember general election could come within months. It's quite likely to come within months so there we another fight come when the manifesto gets to not okay so we've reached the summer for Labor with the brexit headache slightly dimmed but that's certainly not the any problem they're facing at the moment tonight eight former Labor insiders break their silence on Mr Corbin's failure to drive out antisemitism. The recent Panorama investigation nation into antisemitism in the party was really bad news for them. What has been their response well so going back to this idea of there? Being a bit of a feeling of a bunker mentality labor she put out to response before the documentary even aired did and that was to directly attack the individuals who had been involved in making it. Some of their complaint was about the selective editing emails and so on an was absolutely some truth in that. I think the program did very carefully emails. Than US little snippets of sentences and things in a way that was journalistically perhaps questionable certainly an argument there but the thing they that they will probably did was to make very personal tax on these individuals to say they had political impersonal access to grind and we're trying trying to attack Jeremy Corbyn that provoked a real backlash among M._p.'s who watched it also among the trades unions you represent labor staff who felt personally attacking those people many of whom I mean they gave testimony in in any it saying that they had mental health issues as a result of having of working in there and how difficult it was and so on and I it grated a bit I think I mean certainly those around Jeremy Corbyn still say these people will come from a particular bit of the Party. <hes> it's a kind of coordinated attempt to undermine Jeremy Corbyn setting. He came quite aggressive. I think Labor responded after the program by saying the allegations came from disaffected former officials opposed to Mr Corbin's leadership will the whistleblowers alleged that Labor painted them as people who had falsely made militias representations. I mean these people talking about working conditions in the Labor Party and we found out that the Labor Party heard US nondisclosure agreements agreements and was threatening them for breaking them yeah indeed <hes> and in fact we know there's this formal starts to investigation going on by the Human Rights Commission at the moment and they have said that they're going to use their stature tree powers to sort of request that people give evidence and one of the reasons for that one of explanations for that is the then makes those NGOs as nondisclosure agreements not null and void. Let's be fair to the leadership they do except there's a problem in this week have stepped up efforts to for example speedup expulsions and they know the equality and Human Rights Commission investigation is serious but the has been this view. The antisemitism has been weaponized as a way of beating Jeremy Corbyn. Do they still think that yeah I think they do. Nobody's saying it doesn't happen and it's not a problem at all but this certainly a feeling the issue is being weaponized which you can say that's true to the extent that many of those who have spoken out very strongly about our the panel from Germany Corbin's wing of the party critics of his leadership of course the fact that something he's been seized upon all or weaponized doesn't mean he's not a problem and if we just beyond the antisemitism crisis and the brexit splits the are happening at the moment there is still this underlying ideological divide between what you might call Corbin is on the left and the centrists on the other wing of the party auty the left wing pressure great momentum may well have concerns with the leadership over both Anti Semitism brexit but it is still supporting members who want to de-select Anti Corbin M._p.'s what effect is that having on the party well the rules were changed at last year's Party conference and it was made easier to have to trigger ballot where unless you secure the support for certain proportion of your local membership and of your local trade union branches there is an open open selection which means that even if the M._p.. For five ten fifteen years anyone locally can sign up and can stand against you and seek to contest that seat so is it makes m._p.'s have to spend quite a lot of time thinking about the local party not membership and it makes them think twice look over their shoulder to their local membership when they're thinking about big political issues and you might think that's a really good thing because that's the vibrant social movement that Jeremy Corbyn wants to turn the Labor Party into a but you only have to look because the the Tories were you've membership choosing a leader who might be an rather different bit of political spectrum to the rest of the country to see that handing more power to parties membership can have unintended consequences and the Labor Party membership has changed dramatically. It has become massive. It has moved to the left. It's brought back in people who walked away under the Tony Blair years that means the Labor Party in two thousand nineteen is completely different to the Labor Party of ten years ago and yet narrow nowadays new divisions coming out if there is a leadership at all and it seems to me that a lot of people think that there might be I mean coppins not spring chicken even if he doesn't because of any of this controversy who are the kind of Labor M._p.'s who think that they could be a future leader. Well fear of them are more ways. I think on the left of the party there's people who often get talked about our Rebecca Long Bailey who's close of the leadership. She was shuffled instead of Emily Thumb Brita stand in for Jeremy Corbyn Prime Minister questions quite recently that was seen as a sign. They were getting ready. Potentially there is no evidence they government takes they seriously ever Snowbo- Emily home break snappier absolutely emily herself is one of those people I think who would be on the job you know we have a great deal in common and the biggest thing that we have in common is that we we are labor. Say Shut Business Shadow Foreign Dahmer. I think brexit whatever outcome the next prime minister post before in must be subject to another referendum and there's a lot of talk about whether Jomo donal himself self with he's not that much younger than Jimmy Kuban there there are some issues about whether if it was felt there wasn't a left wing candidate to whom the project could be handed over in tax. Perhaps John himself would be a natural caretaker leader. Whenever we thought was in the interest of the nation to do so we've defeated the toys? Just Phillips is another one constantly hear rumors. She might be willing to challenge Jeremy Corbyn staple before I came here but I just met people olives gosh the Jerry Corbin's looking at its top table and seeing a lot people hang up his job. Yeah absolutely that's politics right God. I K now looking to the future. What did Jerry Corbin's biggest critics think he's going to happen? How do they see this unfolding? I think they hope ultimately those members even though many of them did come into the port party energized by Jeremy Corbyn his campaign in two thousand seventeen for example in the general election. I think they hope that some of those members drift away perhaps an are willing in to be open minded enough to consider a different kind of lead and not necessarily someone <hes> you know on on the device wing of the Labor Party on that they're very center of the political spectrum and indeed some of those candidates the Chucker Mnuchin Chris Leslie people we would would have been talking about in this context not long ago have of course drifted away elsewhere but you know I think this sort of Watson Nights. If that's the thing would like to see somebody a bit less left wing than Jeremy Corbyn and perhaps with the different leadership style taking over. And what about team Corbin I mean what do they hopeful well so those membership figures don't look as good as they did but they don't yet suggest that this is a membership all completely disenchanted and I'm willing to sort of Chunk Jeremy Corbyn over the side so I think they hope and believe that it's possible to reunite and re energize the Party wants. The brexit issue is dealt with another still up for the fight. I think they are on the on those issues. I think the brexit issue is being incredibly debilitating and difficult and it's being quite wearing I think and it's not something Jeremy Corbyn is particularly enjoyed dealing with <hes> I saw him bumped into him in the Glass Atrium in parliament where this coffee shop and other things an M._p.. Sort of hang out and I bumped into him the day of that shadow cabinet meeting when they signed off on the brexit compromise and he was back to his sort of twinkling lights cheerful south chatting patting people on the back and being very open in a way that I hadn't seen him for some weeks and months so so I think if they can get past this issue they'll be in quite a good place but you know I say this is brexit moment in British politics is an e got applaud inflec- somewhere when it's it's very hard to ignore heather. Thank you very much. Thank thank you that was this Jewett. The Guardians Brilliant political editor follow her reporting at the Guardian Dot Com coming up. He's arrived. I'm John and I'm sorry I li- T I lisette. We'd be happy if England won the World Cup but lost the ashes. It's not true I wanted all I know it's greedy but positioning the earn next to the World Cup of Ben Stokes's mantelpiece would make this the ultimate summer for English cricket so join Dennis on the spin as we turn ourselves into emotional wrecks all over again. It couldn't be as nerve wracking the World Cup final. Could the spin is supported by natwest now we've had day one of Boris Johnson's premiership with a visit to the queen followed by a lot of sacked ministers. So what type of prime minister will he be got in columnist. An observer chief leader writer on Your Soda. Soda gives us her take on his first speech. I have just been to see how Majesty the cream invited me to form a government and I have accepted like many Westminster watches. I've watched both Johnson given number speeches over for the is I'm for me. The speech he gave on the Septum Downing Street yesterday wasn't really up there. I think you can evaluate it. In two ways first of all in terms of the tone and secondly in times the content intent in terms of the tone of the speech boys Johnson use very classic Boris Johnson language. The kind of language might actually a journalist using more than Britain's new prime minister we had him talk about for example the doubters doomsters in gloomsters teamsters on so I'm standing before you today to tell you the British people those critics are wrong. The doubters doomsters the gloomsters. They outgained to get it wrong again. That's not really the sort of the tone of Gravitas that you might expect from a prime minister. We will say hurt him. These words like lubricate for example which I saw a lot of followers on twitter quite negatively to vigneault deal outcome we will have that it's lubrication of the thirty nine billion pounds so in terms of tone. It seems like Boris. Johnson couldn't just keep the classic Boris Johnson night out of the speech even more important than the tired I think was the content and for me. The weren't really any great surprises there. It would have been really shocking. I think if Boris Johnson had stood on the steps of Downing Street and said forget do or die actually are might need a bit longer to deliver brexit and he didn't go quite as far as Godi but he was pretty on ambiguous. He said no snow box Britain is gonNA leave the European Union Necessity Festival Taiba and I think he's reading making him self hostage to Fortune on that point <tone> <tone> the other area. It's really important speech part from Brexit is domestic policy again. They weren't actually very many big surprises here. It's all stuff voice. Johnson had trailed in the leadership contest interesting though we thought we might get some detail social care actual Boris Johnson did say I'm GONNA fix social care. I've got a plan for it and he sorta stopped last a quite similar to what he was saying. In breakfast kind of a bit like I'm Boris Johnson you need to trust me and he he promised a bit more extra funding from schools that has already been criticized by people in the education sector as going nowhere near far enough to plug the gap in schools funding that we've seen a prenup in recent months and years interestingly given how long we know Boris Johnson has wanted to be prime minister. The speech didn't come across to me like it was incredibly well thought through like had been crafted over a period of months. Perhaps when Boris Johnson was on the <unk> benches planning his ascendancy to Downing Street. It did sort of feel a bit more muted to me a bit more like maybe a last minute job I do wonder how Boris Johnson Willik back home they speech and cut months to come and I wonder he's promised a lot with very little detail in the speech and I do think he's going to come very seriously on stock in the coming weeks when it turns out he can't get a deal with the E._U.. He he can't get the deal that Theresa may negotiate with the probably three parliament. He's going to face the same very troubling parliamentary arithmetic that he's made it. I wonder if he will back and just saying maybe I should have struck a different tied with my space. I mean that would not be a Boris Johnson speech to make at all but I do wonder if he will back one day. I'm thinking well maybe if I took the chain slightly differently things could have been different. ooh That was sunny. Soda do read her column on the website that set for today my thanks to Stewart and Sonya Soda. Today's episode was produced.

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