14th September 2015

Hard-left Corbyn elected UK Labour leader

Hard-left Corbyn elected UK Labour leader

On 12 September, the UK´s Labour Party elected its new leader. Ed Milliband, a centrist, stepped down after a disastrous loss in recent general elections. Saturday´s vote confirmed what many expected, and many feared. The left-leaning party elected a hard-left hard-liner and trade unionist Jeremy Corbyn as its new leader. Many see this as a beginning of the end of Labour as a big party in Britain – Corbyn´s hard-left views are thought to be too much for ordinary Labour voters and many MPs and party members indicated that they would leave.

In the EU context, however, this is also an important event. With the Tories split on EU membership, Labour is the last all-UK pro-EU force (the Liberal Democrats are once again a marginal force, while the SNP is only active in Scotlant). There is a double threat for this now. Labour could become “un-electable” under Corbyn, and therefore there would be no pro-EU powerful political organization in the UK. Also, Corbyn´s hard-left views could make Labour more Eurosceptic – some experts cite the examples of SYRIZA (Greece) and Podemos (Spain), both Eurosceptic in a way, as parties that are close to the new leader´s opinions. And this happens just months before the important in-out referendum which could change the face of the EU.

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Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic