If Theresa May is to be believed, there is room for just about everyone inside her big tent. Which is just as well since, the way things are going, it will be a long time before the Labour Party is in a position to do anything for the dispossessed. The Tories have always been more serious about power than Labour. Witness the fact that it took them just three weeks, following the Brexit calamity, to get their boots on while Labour is still arguing about whose name should go on the ballot paper.

Electing Jeremy Corbyn was always going to be a high risk strategy. Much as I respect Jeremy, I did not vote for him on the grounds that in a parliamentary democracy it is folly to elect a leader who enjoys the confidence of less than ten percent of his parliamentary colleagues. And so it has proved. It was an interesting experiment, but it was always destined to end badly.

To be sure there are many mitigating factors. The election of Jeremy Corbyn is yet another of the bills coming in for Iraq. As a leading opponent of the war, he was right about one of the big issues of the 21st Century when most of the sophisticated, middle-of-the-roaders who boast of their capacity to make balanced judgements, were wrong. What a long fuse Tony Blair lit when he allied us umbilically to the worst US president of my lifetime.

The decision of the Labour national executive committee, at the urging of Ed Milliband, to allow anyone to sign up into the Labour Party in return for a payment of just £3 was another factor. Although not decisive, it brought into the party a flood of new members some of whom do not have the best interests of Labour at heart and some of whom do not believe in parliamentary democracy. Witness the smattering of Socialist Worker placards at ‘Save Jeremy’ rallies.

Jeremy was helped, too, by the fact that he was up against three pleasant but lacklustre candidates, all to a greater or lesser extent tarred with the Blairite brush. Faced with a choice of four unelectable candidates, it was hardly surprising that some people decided to take a punt on the one who was at least authentic.

For what it is worth, my view was that Jeremy, once elected, should have been given two years to prove himself. There is a large grain of truth in the argument that he hasn’t been given a chance. Some of those involved in the current attempt to bring him down were plotting and conniving within hours of his election. Unfortunately, however, Jeremy has not helped himself. His failure to throw himself wholeheartedly into the Remain campaign has played into the hands of his enemies.

The clock cannot be turned back. One way or another Jeremy needs to be replaced by someone capable of offering strong leadership in both the party and the country. Labour needs to get its act together and fast. Failure to do so risks not merely defeat, but annihilation.   

Chris Mullin is a former Labour minister and the author of three widely acclaimed volumes of diaries. His autobiography, Hinterland, will be published by Profile in September.

Follow Chris on Twitter: @chrismullinexmp