Could 2016 see leadership contests in both our major political parties?

Not a lot unites Jeremy Corbyn and David Cameron. Politically they have very little in common, but this summer the two men could find themselves in similar situations. Both are under pressure from their own party and may face leadership challenges. Much must happen before we reach this stage, but could 2016 be the year where both Labour and the Conservatives attempt to oust their leader?

Labour are famously squeamish about removing their leaders and pride themselves in being different to the Conservatives in this regard. Attempted coups against Ed Miliband and Gordon Brown never materialised despite poor poll ratings and it would represent a change in character if Corbyn was removed.

Jeremy Corbyn has never commanded the support of the Parliamentary Labour Party though and this does mean he is in a precarious position. He faces great opposition from some MPs who believe his reign will have a disastrous effect on the Labour Party. This view is hardening amongst the moderate wing of the party who now seem prepared to act. A leadership contest appears inevitable, but with Corbyn’s support in the membership and the lack of an obvious successor there is no guarantee of success.

The Conservatives are traditionally more ruthless and historically have had few qualms about removing their leader. David Cameron despite winning in 2015 has never convinced all of his parliamentary party. The Eurosceptic wing of the party are unhappy with his current conduct and appear to be plotting a move after the referendum regardless of the result, with Boris potentially waiting in the wings. A loss would almost certainly make his position untenable, but even with a win has he now made too many enemies to feel safe in his position?

It is strange for both political parties to be divided at the same time, but this is the situation we find ourselves in. It ensures that we are in for an interesting couple of months with much speculation and gossip. With an EU referendum on the way and two potential leadership challenges, 2016 could turn out to be one of the more remarkable years of our modern political history. Now we have to sit back and wait and see.

Article by Mike Hough

Photograph – The Sun

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