James Forsyth James Forsyth

Labour has even bigger problems than Jeremy Corbyn these days

Want proof of how bad things are for Labour? Jeremy Corbyn and his disastrous leadership is not even its biggest problem anymore. I write in The Sun that Labour’s biggest problem, and it is potentially an existential one, is that its reaction to the Brexit vote is threatening to make it a political irrelevance

More than 60 percent of Labour seats voted to leave the EU. In these constituencies, being the party that is trying to block Brexit would be electoral suicide. That’s why the Labour leadership felt compelled to accept the government’s amendment this week saying Theresa May should start the formal, two-year process for leaving the EU by the end of March. But Labour MPs in heavily Remain seats have different interests. They want to prevent the Lib Dems from trying to establish a hold on the anti-Brexit vote.

Labour is getting caught between these two stools—and that’s why it has seen its vote share plummet in  by-elections in both a heavily Remain and a heavily Leave seat.

If Labour wants to know what this kind of post-referendum squeeze can do they just need to look north. In their former Scottish heartland, they are now a poor third: trailing both the independence supporting SNP and the passionately Unionist Tories.

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