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Monday, 27 June 2016

Labour's struggle with Corbyn's mandate is a reminder of the limits on any democratic process

Jeremy Corbyn was elected with a massive mandate in a full vote of Labour members last year.

Yet Labour members last Autumn could only pass a qualified verdict on who should lead their party - qualified because Corbyn was only one of four names on the ballot paper.

They voted for who they believed to be the best option on the paper.

Furthermore a vote is based on the facts known at the time. Yet it's not until someone takes up the reigns that we find out how well they can drive; that we find out the full facts about their ability to lead.

If it should transpire, as seems to be the case, that Corbyn is not functioning well as a leader then this new information is a material change in circumstances that may warrant a further leadership election.

The claim that to oust Jeremy would be an undemocratic move by Labour MPs is blinkered, especially if new candidates not on the paper last August step forwards.

Extending this to the situation regarding a possible second EU referendum, there is no basis to claim any material change since last Thursday.

The electorate was warned about most of what we're seeing now as the fallout continues, and the fact a majority of voters chose to dismiss these warnings is a simple failure of the Remain team to articulate how deeply the EU relationship is woven into our economy, our society and the stability of the union of the United Kingdom.

Remain ran a weak campaign, and lost.

However...  Should Team Brexit now struggle to implement what they promised - a prosperous UK outside the EU - then that surely is a valid democratic reason to return to the population with a second referendum.

It's not a "best of three"; this scenario, where the Leave team fail to deliver on their promises, would represent a failure of leadership.

It would also represent a material change in outlook for the country because, by then, it wouldn't be Project Fear saying this can't be done; it would be their own campaign team admitting that some of the promises made were not actually achievable.

Whilst consequences of Brexit were easy for some to foresee it was a highly subjective assessment that 51.9% of the country didn't share at the time.

Quite simply the consequences were impossible to forecast with accuracy, but once they are firmly established it would be entirely democratic at this point to go back to the people and ask them, "are you sure this is what you want?"

@JamesFirth

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