Moderate Labor MPs plan to form a dissident political party in a few weeks if Jeremy Corbyn refuses to support an amendment calling for a second referendum.
At least half a dozen ordinary deputies held regular discussions on the split of the party and the formation of a new pro-EU centrist group. According to them, the Labor Party went too far to the left under the leadership of Mr Corbyn, a Eurosceptic for life who spent decades on the margins of the party.
Some MEPs say February 27, the date of the next round of Theresa May's Brexit deal, could be the starting point for a schism if, as expected, Mr. Corbyn did not support an amendment supporting a so-called popular vote.
"I talked to them [the moderates] Many times and they are so angry. They do not listen anymore. It seems that nothing will stop them from separating, "said a Labor MP.
Trigger a by-election to encourage rebels
Under a plan, at least one MP would withdraw to call a by-election. Resuming his seat under the banner of a new party would prove that the group can "win elections," said a backbench MP. At this point, the dissident faction will try to persuade other MPs to leave the Labor Party and join them.
A small group, including MPs Chris Leslie, Chuka Umunna, Angela Smith and Gavin Shuker, has been discussing a separatist night for months.
However, in recent weeks, other people have become "emotional" – a word used by three different MPs – about issues ranging from Brexit to Mr. Corbyn's refusal to criticize the Government of Venezuela and its reluctance to condemn Moscow for the poisoning of Sergei Skripal a year ago. .
Recent Parliamentary Labor rallies have been marked by the growing fury of management's failure to protect MPs such as Luciana Berger from the anti-Semitic abuses allegedly committed by Corbyn's supporters. Members of Mrs. Berger's local party have also tried to oppose a vote of no confidence and are currently being investigated for allegations of bullying.
Mr. Corbyn has been fighting for a long time to win the affection of Labor MPs. More than 160 of them signed a petition inviting him to resign in 2016. However, during the ensuing chieftaincy race, he won comfortably and is still held in high esteem by most members, despite growing concerns about its Brexit position.
Labor MP Neil Coyle called on Corbyn to change the party's position on Brexit and anti-Semitism. "The members leave by the thousands after the Brexit. The advisors leave. MPs will leave, "he said. tweeted.
We are talking about division because the Labor Party has fallen behind the Conservatives in the polls. Corbyn now sees voters as the worst opposition leader in modern history, despite progress made in the 2017 general election.
Mr Leslie said this week on Twitter that membership was being thwarted "from the top" in his desire for another vote. "Brexit is a disaster and we pretend to be fools," he added.
One of the potential rebels said that it was too early to fix the date of the split, saying it could be in the spring. But the moment when Corbyn rejects a second referendum is seen as the likely trigger. "At the moment, people feel they can count on the process as long as they stay in the evening. the [point when] Corbyn does not go with a popular vote, so what's the use of staying? "Said the deputy.
The official policy of the labor movement is to solicit general elections and – if that fails – to support other options, including a second referendum. This compromise, agreed at the party's annual conference in Liverpool in September, aimed to appease the anger of the members of the pro-EU base.
"It depends on whether Corbyn respects our unanimous policy on the people's vote," said a Labor MP. The February 27 vote "could be the moment of truth [for a breakaway]. This could theoretically be two weeks after that. "
The main supporters of a second referendum do not propose an amendment this week asking for a new vote. But Labor MPs Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson are mobilizing for an amendment that would be debated February 27, according to which supporters of the second referendum would agree to support the agreement of Ms. May on the Brexit provided that it is subject to a popular vote.
Would a split be counterproductive?
A breakaway could be considered counterproductive by some supporters of a second referendum, wishing to keep the focus on the possibility of another vote, believing that the possibility of forcing it might happen n & # 39; Anytime until the end of March. Any new party would likely include only a small group of critics from Mr. Corbyn, a larger group of Labor MPs examining ways to influence and develop a policy without completely breaking with the party.
Since Corbyn became leader of the Labor Party in 2015, there have been rumors of potential donors wanting to invest their money in a new centrist party. In theory, such an entity could attract some of the handful of pro-European Conservative MPs who are currently targeted by their own base, Eurosceptics, such as Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston.
The new group, which could be inspired by the organizational structure of the "People's Vote" campaign, could eventually merge with the Liberal Democrats, who lost most of their MPs after a coalition period with the Conservatives in 2010. -15.
One half-dozen rebels admitted that they were not a "well-oiled organization" with a "clinical" plan. "It's more of a matter of emotion," he said.