Labour leadership: Can Owen Smith beat Corbyn?

In the week when the Conservative Party united in order to usher in a new Prime Minister, their arch enemies seem hell-bent on ensuring Theresa May will face no meaningful opposition in parliament. With their leadership contest up and running, Labour are now committed to a summer of in-fighting that could well destroy the party.

Historical analogies with the 1980s are correctly doing the rounds. A female Tory leader dominating British politics while Labour split in two. Whether the losing side actually join or start a different party like the Gang of Four did when forming the SDP in 1981 remains to be seen, but the splits are equally fierce and wounds will be near impossible to heal.

Back in those days, the machinations and decisions of Labour’s National Executive Council were significant national news. So it was once again on Tuesday, when the political world awaited their ruling that Jeremy Corbyn had an automatic right to be on the ballot paper. So it will again next Tuesday, when Corbyn’s supporters seek to water down changes to the registration and voting process that they believe are rigged against their man.

The latest development is the confirmation of a third candidate, thus livening up what many believed would be a one-sided Corbyn victory over Angela Eagle. On throwing his hat in the ring, Owen Smith swiftly assumed favouritism at 1.9, equivalent to a 53% ratong, before slipping back to 2.2 (45%). Corbyn is an even money 2.0 chance with Eagle friendless at 15.0 (7%).

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