Keir Starmer is only a year into his job as Labour leader, but could his time in charge soon come to an end? Starmer is under increasing pressure following his failure to revitalise Labour. A bad set of results on 6 May could mean the final nail in the coffin.
If Starmer is ousted – and that remains a big if, given the lack of viable contenders for the job – Corbyn’s critics within the Labour party will quickly find themselves in a difficult position. With no heir apparent on the Labour right, Starmer’s departure could easily mean the left taking control of Labour all over again.
Yvette Cooper has been touted by some as a ‘compromise candidate’, in the event that Starmer does depart. But it seems unlikely that many on the Corbyn wing of the party would be willing to accept Cooper. What’s more, whoever gets chosen as the candidate for the Corbynite left would be the clear favourite if a leadership election happens this side of the next general election. Corbyn’s supporters are well aware of that: so why should they compromise, and accept a candidate like Cooper who they can’t stand?
All this adds up to a miserable picture if Starmer is ousted. It should also serve as a clear warning for those not enamoured with Starmer but who don’t want to see a return to the dark days of Corbynism to hold their nerve.
But if Starmer is forced out, there might be hope for Labour supporters who don’t like Corbyn. If a new leadership contest were held this year, they could opt for a candidate on a vocally pro-EU platform. A recent poll about viewpoints on EU membership within Labour’s membership revealed that 59 per cent of members would like the party to campaign to re-join the EU; only 15 per cent of these voters thought this would be a bad idea.