Corbyn's 'Et tu?' moment

The knives are out for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. But how long can he remain standing, asks Chris Carter.


For how long can Jeremy Corbyn remain standing?

Jeremy Corbyn will be reaching around for the knife lodged firmly in his back. That's how the Labour leader must be feeling right now. This morning, Tom Watson, one of Corbyn's closest allies in the Labour party has told him what was widely known to everybody else. That the veteran of the Labour left has lost his authority.

This "Et tu?" moment will come as a crushing blow from one so close to Corbyn. But it won't come as too much of a surprise, given his sacking of Hilary Benn at 1am yesterday.

According to The Times, Corbyn's still-loyal senior aides saw the attack coming and were ready for it: "This was expected and we were ready for Benn. We had to kill him and kill him now." This is what it has come down to in the Labour party.

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But the number of conspirators is growing all the time. Many party members doubted his sincerity in the party's fight to keep Britain in the European Union. And now they doubt his ability to lead the Opposition as Britain tears itself apart following the narrow victory for the Leave campaign in the EU referendum.

For the moment, Corbyn is attempting to rise above it. In the most public of displays that he has no intention of stepping down from on high, he has appointed a new-look shadow cabinet.

Emily Thornberry has been appointed to the role of shadow foreign secretary, Dianne Abbott is the new shadow health secretary, Andy McDonald is shadow transport secretary and Clive Lewis is in the role of shadow defence secretary. It is a show of strength.

But can the new appointments really fill the gaping holes in the shadow cabinet left by the growing list of defectors? Heidi Alexander, the shadow health secretary, Gloria de Piero, the shadow minister for young people, Ian Murray, the shadow Scotland secretary, Lilian Greenwood, the shadow transport secretary, all followed Benn out the door within hours of his sacking. The list goes on.

How long the new appointees remain in their places is anyone's guess. But everybody can see the leader is bleeding and heavily. So the question of how will the new-look shadow cabinet fare in restoring stability to a Britain at war with itself can wait. The real question on everybody's lips is how long can Corbyn remain standing.

Chris Carter

Chris Carter spent three glorious years reading English literature on the beautiful Welsh coast at Aberystwyth University. Graduating in 2005, he left for the University of York to specialise in Renaissance literature for his MA, before returning to his native Twickenham, in southwest London. He joined a Richmond-based recruitment company, where he worked with several clients, including the Queen’s bank, Coutts, as well as the super luxury, Dorchester-owned Coworth Park country house hotel, near Ascot in Berkshire.

Then, in 2011, Chris joined MoneyWeek. Initially working as part of the website production team, Chris soon rose to the lofty heights of wealth editor, overseeing MoneyWeek’s Spending It lifestyle section. Chris travels the globe in pursuit of his work, soaking up the local culture and sampling the very finest in cuisine, hotels and resorts for the magazine’s discerning readership. He also enjoys writing his fortnightly page on collectables, delving into the fascinating world of auctions and art, classic cars, coins, watches, wine and whisky investing.

You can follow Chris on Instagram.