With his permanently-in-crisis leadership now facing a challenge and with Theresa May being crowned Tory leader and prime minister, Jeremy Corbyn went to address the Cuba Solidarity Campaign.
Instead of rallying to defend himself against Angela Eagle’s challenge, Corbyn went to the event in the House of Commons hosted by the group and posted it to his snapchat.
The Cuba Solidarity Campaign is a movement whose stated aim is to defend the “Cuban people’s right to be free from foreign intervention”.
This is unlikely to be a major issue to British voters at the next General Election, which may now come earlier than 2020.
Since unexpectedly becoming Labour leader, the career backbench MP has maintained his links to relatively obscure Left Wing causes.
Corbyn made no statement about May becoming prime minister and has missed Monday evening’s Parliamentary Labour Party meeting.
He surprised even Westminster’s keenest observers by attending the Cuba event on a day of political chaos and change.
But The New Statesman’s Stephen Bush said going to the meeting is “astute politics”.
To retain the Labour leadership, he needs to retain the support of party members, who are far more left wing than the electorate, and encourage more left wing people to join the party as a surge in membership raises the possibility of an influx of people who want to depose him.
But another Tweeter noted that, given Corbyn has long supported the Cuba Solidarity Campaign and is not regarded as a shrewd tactician, the “astute politics” might be incidental.
Kate Godfrey, who stood as a Labour candidate in 2015, said the decision was “consistent” with Corbyn’s past behaviour.
While others pointed out the Cuban regime’s record on human rights was poor and included imprisoning trade unionists.
Corbyn faces a challenge from Eagle, who declared her leadership bid today. In a blow to rebel MPs, Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Owen Smith is expected to declare his bid tomorrow, which will likely split the anti-Corbyn vote.
Michael Mansfield, a prominent human rights lawyer, has said that Corbyn will automatically be on the ballot in the leadership election, bypassing the need to get MPs to nominate him.
But Labour general secretary Iain McNicol is set to present only one legal opinion to the party’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) on Tuesday - and it says Corbyn WILL need the backing of 51 MPs or MEPs.
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