Jeremy Corbyn is “terrified” at the prospect of becoming prime minister, a senior Labour party member has claimed following the latest round of infighting over party leadership.
“If Jeremy had to become prime minister, he would find that terrifying,” the MP, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Independent.
They suggested that Corbyn was unfit for the office and is more confident when leading the opposition.
“He doesn’t like taking decisions, he doesn’t want to be the person who has 20 text messages to deal with before he goes to bed at midnight and is woken up at 6am with more demands on his time,” the MP was quoted as saying.
“He’s happy when he’s got something to push back against, but when power becomes more real and he’s got to reconcile competing interests, he can’t do it.”
With Prime Minister Boris Johnson struggling to deliver Brexit amid opposition in parliament, a new general election is on the horizon. A vote of no confidence in Johnson’s government or his sudden resignation could trigger a snap vote as soon as the next few months – potentially bringing Labour to power after a nine-year hiatus.
A general election defeat, however, would likely lead to Corbyn’s retirement, and Labour is currently polling slightly behind the Tories. The Labour MP said Corbyn’s supporters are now in a “twilight of the patriarchs” mood and that succession planning has begun.
Labour 'Civil War'
A shambolic Labour pre-election conference over the weekend saw a show of infighting after the party’s grassroots group, Momentum, attempted to depose deputy leader Tom Watson – Corbyn’s potential successor – by abolishing his position.
The motion faced opposition among senior Labour MPs and failed to gain the needed two-thirds majority; Corbyn was forced to intervene and proposed that the post should be reviewed rather than abolished. There has been word that the attempt to oust Watson came after aides learnt that Corbyn had discussed resigning.
One of his closest aides, head of policy Andrew Fisher, announced his resignation at the same conference, saying, according to a memo obtained by The Times, that he had no faith in Labour’s chances of winning.
Adding to the partisan infighting, Jeremy Corbyn is facing increased internal and external pressure on his Brexit stance. The Labour leader has promised to hold another public vote on Brexit once he has won a general election and struck a deal with the EU, but refused to say whether he would back Remain or Leave – irking the many Remain activists inside his own party.
Corbyn Denies Resignation Rumours
Suggestions that Corbyn might quit are also growing stronger given the fact that a full five-year term as prime minister would see him in the position until he hits 75 in 2024. Corbyn, however, said he wasn’t considering retirement and insisted he was “enjoying” the work.
His allies are similarly hopeful that he would continue working. “I have never met a stronger individual than Jeremy Corbyn,” said Len McCluskey, head of the Labour-aligned Unite trade union. “All this stuff about his age and he’s not looking well – he’s already seen off a few Conservative prime ministers in David Cameron and Theresa May and when we get a chance in a general election he’ll see a third off.”