Leadership, what leadership?

11 Jul

As reported last week, 11 Newham councillors signed a letter stating they had no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour party. One of the criticisms of Corbyn is that he failed to show leadership during the EU referendum campaign and he is therefore to blame for the disastrous result.

Whatever the merits of that argument might be, if those 11 councillors are really concerned about a lack of leadership in the referendum they should take a look closer to home.

Newham had the lowest turnout of any local authority area in England – and the second worst in the UK. Just 59% of voters bothered to register their preference.

Although Remain ‘won’, it was by an exceptionally narrow margin – a majority of 5,957.

Compare that to other inner London boroughs:

Borough Turnout Remain majority
Lambeth 67.4% 81,244
Wandsworth 71.9% 79,042
Hackney 65.1% 60,530
Southwark 66.2% 59,084
Haringey 70.6% 54,136
Islington 70.4% 51,240
Camden 65.5% 47,457
Tower Hamlets 64.6% 57,787

More people voted Remain in Lambeth than voted at all in Newham!

While local activists door-knocked and leafleted the borough, Sir Robin was almost entirely invisible. Search among the ‘doorstep selfies’ posted on social media and you’ll struggle to find one featuring the mayor’s grinning mug. There were no rallies, no public meetings.

Stephen Timms spoke at debates and used his Recorder column to urge residents to vote Remain. Lyn Brown also wrote about why she was voting to stay. Both MPs went door-to-door in the final few days.

But Sir Robin said not a word.

Brexit will hit the poorest hardest, and that means Newham residents will among those that suffer most. 

Will our supine Labour councillors hold Sir Robin to account? Unlikely. But the trigger ballots for deciding if he should be the nominee for the 2018 election are coming up and maybe – just maybe – the membership might.

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One Response to “Leadership, what leadership?”

  1. The Real Thing. July 14, 2016 at 09:02 #

    One of those was a brexit voter, what a cheek

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