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Monday 4 July 2016

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Southampton rebel councillors denounce anti-Corbyn coup

The Southampton rebel anti-cuts councillors, Don Thomas and Keith Morrell, have denounced the attempted coup against Jeremy Corbyn by the Parliamentary Labour Party, which has now been backed by hundreds of Blairite Labour councillors across the country.

Don and Keith (who sits on the TUSC national steering committee) had welcomed Jeremy's leadership victory last September, in an article printed in the local Southampton Echo. After the Southampton Test Labour MP Alan Whitehead joined the coup by resigning from his position as shadow Energy and Climate Change Minister last week, they sent the following statement to the Echo:

"The overwhelming majority of Labour MPs did not vote for Jeremy Corbyn and made it clear from the very beginning that they were not prepared to respect the hundreds of thousands of people who voted for him and wanted a new kind of anti-austerity Labour Party.

"We warned (Daily Echo, 12 September 2015) that 'the danger now is that Jeremy Corbyn will be isolated: many Labour MPs, Labour councillors and the party bureaucracy have shown that they are overwhelmingly hostile to his leadership and to everything he stands for'.

Two irreconcilable parties in one

"The attempted coup against the Leader of the Party by Labour MPs, including our very own Alan Whitehead, is the culmination of a campaign, designed on day one of his leadership, to undermine and eventually replace him with one of their own.

"The Conservative Party is in disarray and a Labour Party armed with bold socialist policies which offered a real alternative could sweep the board in a general election. It must be said that Jeremy Corbyn's compromises with the Blairites and failure to provide a strong and determined leadership has given his opponents an opportunity to oust him.

"We said in our Daily Echo article last year that the hundreds of thousands of people who voted for a new kind of party, that would represent the 99% and not the 1%, needed to channel their enthusiasm into rebuilding the internal democratic structures destroyed by New Labour and that 'If that does not happen the forces that presently control the Labour Party may turn out to be too strong and the promise of a brighter future represented by Jeremy Corbyn could be snuffed out'. That is now happening!

"However, a leadership election will not resolve the crisis in the Labour Party which is in reality a crisis of working-class representation. There are now two irreconcilable parties within the Labour Party: an anti-austerity party, the rank and file membership, opposed to cuts in public services; and an austerity party - MPs and local councillors - which is signed up to even more cuts in public services.

"Rank and file members must now decide if they can any longer co-exist with MPs and local councillors who oppose everything Jeremy Corbyn stands for.

"As we predicted last September and still believe today, 'the outcome of this civil war in the Labour Party may well be the creation of a new workers' party'."