Corbyn tide shows signs of receding in Labour leadership contest

Jeremy Corbyn became the fifth Labour MP since May’s General Election to attract a quote of 2/1 or less with Ladbrokes in the ailing parties’ next leader market, but like Chuka Umunna and Liz Kendall before him, the veteran left-winger is starting to go backwards, in the betting at least.

The 66-year-old was beginning to put serious pressure on long-time favourite Andy Burnham with the bookies, moving to within a point of the Liverpudlian, who has been backed into 1/1 from 6/5 since.

More worrying for ‘Team Corbyn’ – a mishmash political coalition which includes working-class voters hoping for change, leftist activists who can smell something in the air, and Conservatives availing of the opportunity to pay £3 for a vote – fellow candidate Yvette Cooper is back up to second-favourite at 9/4.

By most accounts, Corbyn’s appearance on the BBC’s ‘The Andrew Marr Show’ went as well as could be expected, with the Wiltshire-born Londoner even managing to vaguely deny he is a Marxist, although his rhetoric and actions during 30-plus years working in politics suggest otherwise.

However, the ‘Stop Corbyn’ brigade was out in force while the headline act spoke to the nation, with MPs John Mann and Graham Stringer suggesting ‘entryism’, from the right and particularly the left, threatens to break up and ultimately destroy the party.

Both Mann and Stringer insist that something has to change, whether that be acting leader Harriet Harman stepping in to oversee the electoral process and perform proper checks, or halting the contest while the rules are changed.

The latter course of action would likely lead to a boon for the left, but there may be scope for Harman to perform a mini-purge of the likes of Telegraph journalist Toby Young and Socialist Party (formerly Militant) members, however bad that will look.

Whether that will be enough to stop Labour’s march towards unelectability is hard to say, but it’s entirely possible that we have already witnessed peak-Corbyn.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Iain Houten

Iain has been contributing pieces to various websites on an array of subjects, including sports, politics and art, for over four years. Despite blue being his favourite colour, the teams he supports all wear red.