Some Westminster insiders say that Stephen Doughty, the Labour and Co-operative MP for Cardiff South and Penarth is – perhaps – seeking to restore his fractured relationship with the Leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn.
Last night Sky News televised the final live debate between Jeremy Corbyn and his leadership rival – the little-known Owen Smith (Labour MP for Pontypridd) – after which a Sky presenter – challenging a Smith supporter – described the Welsh contender as “toast”.
Not only had Corbyn held his corner in the tv debate – but earlier he had also effectively taken on Prime Minister Theresa May at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons – and had put in his best-ever performance at the dispatch box.
All this may be bringing about yet another re-think by Stephen Doughty who critics say seems to have an unenviable record for backing the wrong horse in the Labour leadership struggle.
In the May 2015 Labour leadership elections, Doughty announced he was backing lightweight Liz Kendall for the Labour Leadership. Jeremy Corbyn won . Kendall came bottom of the poll.
Although he hadn’t supported Corbyn, Doughty was given a junior foreign affairs job on Corbyn’s Labour front bench.
In January this year however Doughty abruptly broke off his relationship with Corbyn by publicly resigning on the live network BBC tv programme The Daily Politics.
In March Doughty was listed by the Corbyn camp as being in what was called the “Core Group Hostile” category of MPs – the most extreme opponents of Jeremy Corbyn.
In July 2016 Doughty publicly announced he was supporting Angela Eagle’s bid for the Labour Leadership…but a few days later Eagle pulled out
On July 19th 2016 Doughty was listed in the Daily Mirror as being one of the 172 Labour MPs who were nominating Owen Smith for the Labour Leadership . However now that Smith’s leadership bid is faltering, there are possible signs of yet another change of allegiance by Doughty.
In a tweet yesterday, Doughty appeared to be holding out an olive-branch and adjusting his position – publicly praising Corbyn’s performance at Prime Minister’s Questions for what he described as “excellent Qs from Jeremy today”.
Significantly perhaps, Doughty’s name does not appear on the so-called “deselection list” of 13 Labour MPs who are adjudged by the Corbyn team to have “abused the leader and his allies” even though Doughty had criticised the conduct of Corbyn colleagues on network tv back in January when he had publicly resigned from the Labour front bench.