No rapprochement between Corbyn and Labour MPs

A big hello from Liverpool, where it is now clear that peace is not about to break out tomorrow between Labour's estranged MPs and Jeremy Corbyn - because the promised serious negotiations on involving the parliamentary Labour Party in the choice of the shadow cabinet have not happened.

That probably should not be seen as a surprise, since Corbyn's closest advisers were never keen on watering down his discretion to appoint who he wants to his top team.

So, after Jeremy Corbyn's expected landslide win in the leadership election is announced here tomorrow, there'll be no agreed proposal on choosing the shadow cabinet to be put to the evening meeting of the ruling National Executive Committee - unless there is some kind of last-minute breakthrough that no one close to the non-talks expects.

That in turn means the NEC will not be able to put a recommendation to conference on changing the method for forming Labour's front bench.

One consequence is that Labour's conference will now be dominated by continued warring between Corbyn and his MPs. And it is likely to be overshadowed by NEC deliberations day after day on whether some kind of shadow cabinet reform can be agreed by the close of conference on Wednesday.

It no agreement is reached, there may be an attempt to get conference to agree in some way to allow the PLP and Corbyn's team to continue negotiating up to the re-opening of Parliament on October 10 - although technically that will be hard to achieve.

Corbyn and his leadership challenger Owen Smith Credit: PA

Apart from anything else, MPs and Corbyn are miles apart on how the shadow cabinet should be chosen, with MPs wanting the ability to vote for more than half of all members.

Now there are several reasons why this dispute over how the shadow cabinet is appointed really matters.

First is that Labour finds it hard to hold the government to account when so many Labour MPs are boycotting the frontbench: five members of the shadow cabinet are shadowing two departments each, which stretches them too thin; another 59 junior portfolio sare completely unfilled; and several members of the shadow cabinet are thought to consider themselves too old for the hurly-burly of close parliamentary combat.

Second, the boycott also deprives Corbyn of MPs who are widely respected and have not treated him with contempt, such as Yvette Cooper, Dan Jarvis and Keir Starmer.

Third, the more that the media is only interested in Labour for its civil war, and the more that the civil war rages, the less that Labour can really scrutinise the incredibly important policies being put forward by the government to take us out of the EU, reform the education system and write new rules for controlling public sector borrowing.