Our correspondent

Corbyn Watch

Our correspondent

JEREMY CORBYN HAS STARTED THE LEADERSHIP election by definitively confounding his critics and answering every question asked of him.

They said he isn’t tough enough, yet he stood his ground in the face of co-ordinated resignations, the media camped outside his house and numerous false accusations from elements inside the Parliamentary Labour Party.

They said he isn’t a leader, yet he stood before a hostile House of Commons and eloquently set out a vision for a nuclearfree Britain and world, not baulking even when those on his own side heckled.

They said he’s unelectable, yet he continues to draw crowds of thousands across the country, reaching out beyond the Party to places Owen Smith and others can only dream of.

The efforts of the former Shadow Cabinet members were not just to dislodge Corbyn as leader, but to crush his spirit, to try to drive a wedge between him and the membership and to give the impression of unmanageable chaos in the camp. It is a credit to Corbyn, his team and his supporters that the tactics have not worked.

The starting gun for this leadership contest was fired by Hilary Benn when he admitted gathering signatures against Corbyn. Benn, along with all other MPs who took part in the resignations, played into the hands of the hostile media and the Tories. They must take the blame for the current polling.

While Corbyn’s support seems to be holding firm, there are some who have taken this chance to raises concerns with the way the leadership has been run over the past year. But now is the time to unite behind his leadership and take on the Tories. Anything else, no matter how well meaning, gives ammunition to the Owen Smith camp.

The choice for the Labour Party is clear. Re-elect Jeremy Corbyn and continue the transformation of the Party and reinvigoration of the movement, or watch Owen Smith confine the left to the wilderness for another generation. It’s too important to stand on the sidelines this summer.