Embattled Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has struck a last-minute compromise with his Shadow Cabinet that allows him to support UK government airstrikes, but only as long as they are against the Parliamentary Labour Party.
In reaching a deal Mr Corbyn has narrowly avoided a series of damaging resignations from his front bench after his controversial email suggesting he was ‘not entirely persuaded that killing some people would stop some people killing other people’, a view slammed by his colleagues as “utterly insane” and completely at odds with long-established Labour foreign policy.
‘What he said about war being somehow ‘damaging’ and ‘not in everybody’s best interests’ was just the Trotskyist gibberish of a crypto-Communist madman,’ said one frontbencher. ‘Doesn’t he remember that the last time we took the country into an illegal war we won three elections in a row? Something like that anyway. The lesson is, people love war, let’s give them more of it!’
While initial reactions to Mr Corbyn’s email had been furious, however, his colleagues responded well to his attempts to negotiate a fragile party truce. Mr Corbyn telephoned round his colleagues to propose that airstrikes be allowed but just not against the Syrians. ‘Jeremy had come up with actually quite a brilliant compromise, that we could vote for airstrikes but instead of bombing Syria we’re going to take out the other half of the PLP,’ said Corbyn sceptic and Ilford South MP Mike Gapes. ‘Of course by ‘other half’ he means the pro-Corbyn crowd which is the half that’s causing all the trouble. Well worth it.’
Close Corbyn ally Diane Abbott MP was also supportive of the deal. ‘We can either drop bombs on 180,000 Syrian civilians, or save billions of pounds and drop just the one on a meeting of the other half of the Labour party,’ she said. ‘Jeremy’s played a real blinder here. Of course by ‘other half’ he means the anti-Corbyn brigade which is the half that’s causing all the trouble. Can’t wait.’
Shadow Foreign Secretary Hillary Benn was ‘relieved’ at the success of Mr Corbyn’s dialogue with the party. ‘For a moment there it looked like we were going to descend into a long, protracted and messy conflict which would only result in damaging but fruitless attacks against a hardline regime by various groups of extremist rebels who could never agree on anything. What do you mean, sounds like Iraq? Never heard of it.’