Rifts at home and abroad
While the British government is tied up with the EU, Labour appears to be ripping itself apart.
The EU and its response to the migration crisis still dominates the agenda, with Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, due to set out Europe’s plans to relocate refugees. Under the proposals, the asylum seekers will be distributed among EU nations, with binding quotas. Juncker is expected to issue a call for solidarity. However, it is unlikely all EU member nations will throw their weight behind the plans, with Britain opting out and Eastern European countries such as Hungary and Slovakia opposing the plans. The British government’s position on this is not winning it friends within the EU. In refusing to participate in the quota system, David Cameron and George Osborne risk threatening their attempts to gain allies over their renegotiations around the UK’s membership ahead of the ‘in-out’ referendum.
Meanwhile, the Labour party remains in turmoil with its leadership election. The latest sign of a major rift in the party is the possibility of up to eight members of the shadow cabinet refusing to serve on a frontbench led by Jeremy Corbyn. Shadow chancellor Chris Leslie, leadership opponent Yvette Cooper and Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt have already declared they will not serve – whilst rumours suggest other prominent figures such as Chukka Umunna and Rachel Reeves will also take a stand. Whether they follow through remains to be seen, as they are under pressure to put party loyalty first. But these rumours will do further damage to the public’s image of the party.