A momentary pause from Brexit
It was a weekend of reflection for the two main parties following the elections of last Thursday. At a time when the Labour Party is facing an internal war over its future directionand Corbyn’s leadership, and the Conservatives are at open season over Brexit, these results mattered more than most. For Labour, the beating was not as bad as expected. The referendum on Corbyn’s leadership produced an inconclusive result that is arguably more favourable to him than opponents in the right of the party would have hoped. For Corbyn, there was a double edged sword, however. The jewel amongst the results was undoubtedly Sadiq Khan’s sweeping victory over Conservative Zac Goldsmith in the London mayoral race. Khan looks set to use his platform to lobby Corbyn to broaden the Labour tent and bring the bring party together. Corbyn will have to deal carefully with Khan who has earned the stamp of approval from Londoners and kudos from the party. Not showing up at Khan’s swearing-in was not a great start.
For the Conservatives, it was a case of lessons learned from comparing and contrasting fortunes in Scotland and London. Ruth Davidson led the Scots Tories into second place following a historic surge whereas Goldsmith’s categorical rejection from Londoners was a heavy blow. In the end it was a campaign of hope in Scotland and one of fear in the capital.
From the momentary pause of the elections, we are now fully back to Europe. Former spy chiefs stepped in over the weekend warning of security fears in the event of Brexit and David Cameron will today warn of a fracturing Europe descending into war. Fear of war in Europe should not be the Prime Minister’s only concern as a little closer to home, Boris Johnson’s battle bus is also due to hit the road again. With leadership ambitions and legacies at stake, expect this debate to get nastier still as there are only three weeks before the postal votes are issued.