Jeremy Corbyn can prove critics like Tony Blair wrong yet again at next election: Chris Moncrieff

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Many of his own MPs don’t think Jeremy Corbyn could ever lead Labour to election victory – but are they forgetting how well he did in 2017?

Here today, gone tomorrow. It seems that is what a substantial number of Labour MPs would like to be the fate of their left-wing leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

Jeremy Corbyn and Tony Blair have different visions for the future of the Labour party. Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Jeremy Corbyn and Tony Blair have different visions for the future of the Labour party. Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Even high-level Labour members like former Prime Minister Tony Blair claim that the party would never win an election with Corbyn at the helm.

But the question is: Is he right?

Corbyn put on a hugely unexpectedly positive performance at Theresa May’s ill-judged 2017 General Election.

Everyone connected to the party feared that May would wipe the floor with Corbyn and emerge with a huge, or at least substantial, Conservative majority in the Commons – an assumption backed up by the polls at the start of the election campaign.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn waves to the crowd after delivering his speech at the Labour Party annual conference at the Brighton Centre, Brighton in 2017. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn waves to the crowd after delivering his speech at the Labour Party annual conference at the Brighton Centre, Brighton in 2017. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Don’t write off Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party after by-election disappointment: Chris Moncrieff

But it was not to be.

Instead, Mrs May lost her majority and Labour’s vote increased by 9.5 per cent on the 2015 election result when they were led by Ed Miliband, with the party under Corbyn gaining an additional 30 seats in the Commons as the Tories lost 13 MPs.

Brexit betrayal brings shame on Westminster: Chris Moncrieff

Corbyn’s lack of popularity at Westminster was clearly not mirrored by his popularity elsewhere in the country two years ago.

In fact, he gained almost pop-star attention and came close to winning that contest himself.

But now he is faced with yet more problems of his own.

He doesn’t seem afraid of dumping dissidents in the Labour Party over Brexit – and the situation has now reached a position where sacking even more Labour MPs could see them become as big a shambles as the current Tory Party.

So, unless he wants this to happen, Corbyn will have to proceed carefully before sacking any more Labour MPs who show signs of betrayal.

However, Tony Blair’s view that Labour will never win under Corbyn could be a big mistake.

The former Labour Prime Minister would do well to pipe down, I believe.

There is more about Corbyn than he realises, and the present leader is by no means a disaster for his party.

Tory MP Rory Stewart, who failed in his bid for the Conservative leadership, is a popular figure nevertheless.

His next objective is to become Mayor of London and he announced his candidacy last week for the election next May, saying he wants to steer the capital away from the “kind of extremism that is taking over our country”.

It is my belief that he should not be put off by his critics, who have suggested he is not the right man for the job.

However, I also think he is far too important a figure to make the London mayoralty his goal.

He would be a good and successful leader of the Conservative Party as his next ambition.

I hope he can be persuaded to raise his ambitions so he can show his former Tory colleagues what he can do.

He is a bigger man politically than simply taking what is no more than a second-class job in politics.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson appears to be unbothered by the fact that the entire legislative establishment was bitterly opposed to his attempt to win Brexit by putting Parliament out of action for several weeks.

He has had to give way to their demands but is undeterred by their opposition.

He is going to have another attempt to put Parliament out of action.

But nobody really believes that, whatever happens, he will not go ahead with his do-or-die withdrawal from the EU if no deal can be reached.

He does not give up lightly.

I could not suppress a smile when I heard that the environmental campaigners, in their endeavours to daub the Treasury building with red paint, made such a mess of their plan that they covered themselves with paint instead.

Members of the Extinction Rebellion group attempted the headline-grabbing stunt last week but almost immediately lost control of the hose which they were using from a fire engine and aiming at the building.

I do not like to dwell on people’s misfortunes but these campaigners deserve to be laughed at for giving themselves rather more than simply red faces.

Chris Moncrieff is a former political editor at the Press Association.