Thornberry: Elected Deputy Leader Doesn’t Represent the Party

Not very comradely…

Corbyn Gives Up on Having a Brexit Policy

After 3 years of dithering, u-turning and total confusion, last night Jeremy Corbyn finally gave up on trying to assert a Brexit policy on the Labour Party. He conceded to offering his cabinet a free vote in a second referendum should they win power…

Corbyn will also allow his MPs to campaign on either side of his proposed referendum – granting a huge choice between remaining, and staying in the customs union and regulatory orbit of the single market.

The move comes after Emily Thornberry’s excruciating Question Time appearance last week, where she had to explain with a straight face that if Labour came to power she would help negotiate a new deal with the EU, then campaign against it to stay in.

Meanwhile, deputy party leader Tom Watson has come up with yet another excuse to vote against a general election – saying there should be a second referendum beforehand. Maybe the new strategy is to make Britons so exhausted with as many votes as possible that they don’t notice Labour’s spinelessness…

Thornberry: I’ll Negotiate a New Deal Then Campaign Against It

No wonder Labour keeps voting against having a general election…

Leftists Turn on Caroline Lucas

Caroline Lucas managed to achieve the remarkable feat of uniting right and left against her with the daftest proposal of silly season so far for an all-woman (and all-white) emergency ‘cabinet of national unity’ to take over and block no deal, “because women have shown they can bring a different perspective to crises, are able to reach out to those they disagree with and cooperate to find solutions”. Just women Caroline likes though, not women like Priti Patel, Liz Truss, Gisela Stuart, or apparently Diane Abbott.

Corbynistas who used to go dewy-eyed at the mere mention of Lucas have now been rapidly unpersoning her. Guido has rounded up some of the more enjoyable reactions…

Diane Abbott herself shut down the idea with an uncharacteristically sensible response. Thornberry, who was approached by Lucas to the fury of the Corbynistas, also poured cold water on it:

However it was Ellie Mae O’Hagan who saved the best till last, identifying the true enemy: centrism. Corbynistia has always been at war with Lucasia…

Lucas’s latest idea is never going to fly, as Guido has already noted, wild fantasising about ‘national unity’ PMs is this year’s silly season activity of choice. However there is a school of thought that by deliberately putting out an obviously daft idea and getting everyone talking about it, Lucas is helping to shift the Overton Window to make a ‘national unity’ Government under someone less bonkers seem more reasonable. Guido won’t be holding his breath…

Thornberry: Labour Will Campaign for Remain

Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry says: “We’re going to ask for a public vote, we’re going to ask for Remain to be on the ballot paper and we’re going to campaign to Remain.” Labour abandons Northern Leave voting seats…

Thornberry Stings Boris Over Police Visit

At Foreign Office Questions this afternoon, Damian McBride Emily Thornberry took the opportunity to sting Boris by congratulating Jeremy Hunt for “not just for getting into the final two, but also being the only candidate who has the police outside his house for the right reasons!” Ouch…

Rishi Sunak Reminds Ridge About Boris’ Liberal Burqa Stance

The point about Boris’s infamous burka column which is systematically and wilfully overlooked is that Boris was actually defending a woman’s rights to choose whether she wears a burqa or not. Unlike in supposedly ‘liberal’ EU countries like France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands where women are legally banned from wearing the burqa in many public places and face fines for doing so. Not to mention Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry saying she would actively discriminate against women who wear burqas…

Thornberry’s Jab at Anonymous Labour “Backroom Briefing”

Fair to say that Emily Thornberry’s not particularly impressed with anonymous “backroom briefing” from Labour spokespeople suggesting that Labour might abstain on the second reading of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill. “I’m the elected politician, I’m on the record, we’re not going to vote for the Withdrawal Bill if we don’t agree it, and we don’t…” Who could she possibly be thinking of…?

Thornberry: ‘Strong Argument’ for Second Referendum

A masterclass from Emily Thornberry in evading the question. Will Labour be tabling a confidence vote? Will Labour be backing Brexit in a General Election? Will they back a second referendum? We just don’t know, neither does she…

Emily Thorn-Merry at the Despatch Box

Emily Thornberry was having a bit of trouble getting her question out at the Despatch Box earlier. “Everything is so topsy-turvey at the moment!” As Alastair Burt sagely notes, we have all been in her position before…

Labour Voters Unenthusiastic About Leadership Contenders

Labour’s leadership hopefuls have some work to do if they want to establish themselves as successors to Corbyn among the Labour faithful. Polling by the ESRC Party Members Project somewhat surprisingly found Keir Starmer to be the slight favourite among Labour members with 18% support, ahead of John McDonnell on 15% and Emily Thornberry on 12%.

Starmer is hardly the obvious Corbynista choice but with Brexit in the spotlight Starmer’s Remain tendencies are more in tune with the Labour membership than the euroscepticism of the old left. Still a far cry from Boris’s regular double-digit leads among Tory members…

Among Labour voters as a whole, not a single contender breaks into double digits, with “don’t know” polling at a hefty 56%. Starmer is again the best of the bunch on 9% with McDonnell trailing on 5%. Thornberry and Chuka are tied on 3%. Self-promoting Sadiq doesn’t even get a look in – only 1% of Labour members back him and less than 1% of Labour voters at large…

Labour All At Sea Over Brexit

Labour are all at sea over Brexit again, with Keir Starmer directly contracting his party leader’s comments on whether Brexit can be stopped. Starmer told Sky News this morning “Brexit can be stopped” just days after Corbyn categorically told Der Spiegel on Friday that Labour “can’t stop” Brexit:

DS: “If you could stop Brexit, would you?”

JC: “We can’t stop it. The referendum took place. Article 50 has been triggered. What we can do is recognise the reasons why people voted Leave.”

Emily Thornberry and Dianne Abbott have also given conflicting signals in recent days, with Thornberry telling Marr yesterday a second referendum was still an option, while Abbott warned against the idea on Question Time last week. Civil war in North London luvvie land…

Labour’s position on the deal itself is no less unclear, with shadow Brexit minister Jenny Chapman making distinctly positive noises about the possibility of Labour supporting a deal on All Out Politics despite Thornberry coming down strongly against the prospect yesterday. Labour’s “constructive ambiguity” is increasingly looking less like astute party management and more a symptom of serious internal shadow Cabinet splits…

The Government’s fundamental problem with getting a deal through Parliament – if it even gets through Cabinet – is that voting down the deal is all things to all people. The Labour frontbench sees it as the best route to a general election. Brexiteers see it as the way to force ‘no deal’. Remainers see it as their best chance of securing a second referendum. The Johnson-Johnson pincer movement looks particularly dangerous for the Government. But ultimately only one of these groups can actually get what they want…

Labour ‘Won’t Save the Government’ in Brexit Deal Vote

Emily Thornberry confirmed to Marr this morning that Labour is intent on voting down Theresa May’s Brexit deal, in the hope of forcing a general election. The clock is ticking, and as things stand the UK will automatically leave the EU in 138 days.

Thornberry Doesn’t Want That People’s Vote

Emily Thornberry tells Today

“I want a people’s vote but I want it to be a big and proper people’s vote, which is a general election.”

Thornberry: Our Brexit Tests Are Not Silly

Thornberry on Israel

Emily Thornberry tells Labour activists some home truths…

“…we must all acknowledge, that there are sickening individuals on the fringes of our movement, who use our legitimate support for Palestine as a cloak and a cover for their despicable hatred of Jewish people, and their desire to see Israel destroyed.”

Thornberry: I Wouldn’t Let a Woman in a Burka Look After My Child

This was Emily Thornberry speaking on Question Time in 2013:

“I wouldn’t want my four year old looked after by somebody wearing a burka. I wouldn’t want my elderly mum looked after by somebody wearing a burka. They need to be able to show their face. I wouldn’t mind if they worked in records in the hospital.”

She says she wouldn’t want a woman wearing a burka to look after her child but they can work in backroom offices. Surely this is far, far worse than Boris’ comments? Where is the outrage, Corbynistas?

Press Gallery Welcomes Thornberry

Banter from the Press Gallery this lunchtime, who are dining with Emily Thornberry. England flags all round. Good to make her feel welcome…

H/T: Picture via Chris Hope

May Outflanks Corbyn From the Left

Have we woken up in opposites world? The Tories have announced an uncosted £20 billion-a-year NHS spending policy funded by vague, mystery tax rises, pledging to outspend Corbyn. Labour are saying that, unlike the government, their own less expensive policy is costed.

Impressive spin operation from Number 10 to get all broadcasters to lead on Brexit dividend line, when the policy is as yet uncosted and most of the money is coming from tax rises they have yet to outline. Not sure Labour would be getting such an easy a ride over a £20 billion a year uncosted policy funded by vague tax rises…

Thornberry Talks Up Assad

Emily Thornberry is rightly under fire for talking up Assad’s popularity in a bizarre interview with Prospect magazine:

“There is an argument that if [President Bashar al-Assad] had been as overwhelmingly unpopular as the rebels told the west at the outset then he wouldn’t be there.

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Boris as Hulk…

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