Yesterday afternoon Guido suggested there may be some Labour MPs secretly hoping Sir Keir loses the Batley & Spen by-election. Just 20 minutes later, a Diane Abbott Guardian op-ed was telling readers that failure in the key electoral test “must surely be curtains for him”. Appearing on Peston last night, Becky Long-Bailey didn’t deny moves to oust her former leadership rival, saying “There are going to have to be serious discussions”. For someone who’s spent so long obsessing over the PM’s interior design, is this curtains for Keir?
Diane ramps up the pressure, actively pointing the spotlight towards Andy Burnham and saying the Labour left would back a leadership challenge from him. Guido can reveal that recently-suspended Unite general secretary frontrunner Howard Beckett last night also backed Andy Burnham for the Labour leadership and told a Zoom audience “the sooner a leadership challenge comes the better”:
John Trickett – the first Labour MP out of the gates after Hartlepool to say a leadership challenge shouldn’t be ruled out – last night shared, then deleted, a tweet from Paul Waugh saying “Yes – it’ll go nuclear after Batley”
DT Jon Trickett MP: Paul Waugh Yes - it’ll go nuclear after Batley https://t.co/aeNuTaDMGp— Tweets MPs Delete (@deletedbyMPs) May 19, 2021
Jeremy Corbyn lasted only nine months before a leadership challenge. Sir Keir’s already gone over a year – perhaps that will be some sort of political legacy…