IT is paradoxical that a premier as weak as Theresa May – she has been fighting for her survival ever since the ill-advised 2017 election – is, in fact, strengthened by Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of Her Majesty’s Opposition as he faces fresh opprobrium for his mishandling of the party’s anti-Semitism scandal.
For, while Mrs May struggles to lead a party still polarised by Brexit, Mr Corbyn has become diminished since his vote of no confidence in the Government was defeated just 24 hours after the PM’s Brexit plan was rejected by a record 230 votes.
This week’s tortuous political events have done little to dispel the belief that Labour’s hard left agenda is keeping the Tories in power. Not only has his apparent volte-face over a second referendum split many in his party, but he appeared to talk down Britain when he chose to focus on the economy at PMQs.
And then there was Mr Corbyn’s indecisive response after his close ally Chris Williamson, the Derby North MP, told grassroots activists in Sheffield that the party’s reaction to anti-Semitism allegations had been “too apologetic”.
An absurd proposition, Labour only suspended the outspoken backbencher many hours after both Tom Watson – Mr Corbyn’s deputy – and also Mrs May denounced Mr Williamson’s comments which had been first revealed by The Yorkshire Post.
This is the type of indifference by Mr Corbyn’s inner circle which saw the much-respected Jewish MP Luciana Berger and others defect from Labour to the newly-formed Independent Group. It also explains why others, both inside the Parliamentary Labour Party or on its periphery, have concluded that Mr Corbyn is not fit to govern. And, judging by his lacklustre response to recent events when he had a chance to show some statecraft to appease his critics, their judgment does not appear to be erroneous.