More than 60,000 people have signed up to become members of Labour Party in the wake of the revolt against leader Jeremy Corbyn by MPs, the Huffington Post reports.
This would be the biggest membership spike of any British political party in history, and raises Labour’s total membership number to 450,000 — 10,000 members higher than the party’s last peak under Tony Blair in 1997.
It is unclear how many of those new members signed up specifically to show solidarity with Corbyn, but according to political journalist Paul Waugh the majority back him “by the tiniest of margins.”
The past week has been the toughest of Corbyn’s Labour leadership yet, with many saying he did not campaign hard enough to keep the UK in the EU following the Brexit result and 75% of his own MPs subsequently signing a vote of “No Confidence” in him.
But he has remained steadfast as leader, insisting on Twitter yesterday that he has the mandate to lead the Labour Party and isn’t going anywhere:
“I was elected leader of our party, for a new kind of politics, by 60% of Labour members and supports. The need for that different approach now is greater than ever. Our people need Labour Party members, trade unionist and MPs to unite. As leader it is my continued commitment to dedicate our party’s activity to our goal.”
To make matters worse, the spectre of anti-Semitism still haunts his leadership, as Jewish MP Rith Smeeth stormed out of a Labour anti-Semitism report launch on Thursday and later accused Corbyn of failing to make the party safe for its Jewish members:
“Until today I had made no public comment about Jeremy’s ability to lead our party, but the fact that he failed to intervene is final proof for me that he is unfit to lead, and that a Labour Party under his stewardship cannot be a safe space for British Jews.”
Labour could not be reached for comment.
The party’s current mess will be a welcome distraction for the Conservatives, who are having battles of their own after Vote Leave campaigner Michael Gove surprised everyone by announcing his leadership bid on Thursday, which many think forced Boris Johnson to drop his bid.
Gove is now the bookies’ second favourite to become Prime Minister, but he still has some way to go to catch up to Home Secretary Theresa May. She said on Thursday that under no circumstances would the UK back away from it commitment to leave the EU after the result of the referendum.