took this challenge a bit too seriouslyPlot twist: this is a chronological list.
It was a shame when Michael Meacher passed away. Despite his party being down in the polls, at the time of his death he represented the strongest victory for the socialist left since Foot left office. The party bosses knew that he had awakened a powerful forcce, and agreed to compromise from their post-Blair consenus. Lisa Nandy passed up a run in May, where she had a shot at being the left's standard-bearer. Things had shifted enough by the end of the year that she was suddenly the establishment candidate. She won, but burned a number of bridges with the rising populist left. Corbyn and McDonnell were kicked out of the shadow cabinet, and Nandy reversed Meacher's position and voted in favor of airstrikes against Syria.
Nandy might have toned down the left's rhetoric in an attempt to keep Labour mainstream, but she failed to account for the rage that had been boiling after the financial crisis and austerity. After 2016's Brexit vote, the pro-Remain Theresa May now saw herself in the same balancing act as Nandy, aiming to deliver a stable Brexit. Both failed in their endeavors. Most commentators dismissed UKIP after the Leave victory and Nigel Farage's retirement, but their sudden victory in the Stoke on Trent by-election catapulted Paul Nuttal into the spotlight. By capitalizing on the anti-elitist movements of Michael Meacher and Brexit, he turned a Tory landslide into a hung parliament. Nuttall, now the kingmaker of British politics, forced May out of office and pushed for a "hard Brexit."
Nandy stepped down, with Labour losing a number of seats to the Tories and most especially, UKIP. A protege of John McDonnell, Rebecca Long-Bailey recognized that the voters wanted an authentic Labour and shifted back towards the left. In a cruel twist of fate, her leadership is now remembered for inauthentiticty as Brexit, rather than economic issues, remained the dominant topic of British politics. With Gove facing increasingly difficult demands from Nuttall and his backbenchers and RLB wanting to get the issue over with, a cross-party withdraw deal was arranged. This came as a huge shock to Labour supporters, who wished for a second referendum. In the end, the deal failed in a spectuaclar fashion, with both leaders having egg on their faces.
Jess Phillips challenged Long-Bailey for the leadership as the champion of the People's Vote movement. Despite being unpopular and unknown, Phillips allowed the single issue to define the campaign and narrowly defeated the wounded incumbent. This switch back to the centre was as much of a shock to the left as Meacher in 2015 was to the Blairites and Brownites. Phillips had no interest in listening to their interests and quickly faced a series of controversies over her views on trans rights, dismissal of men's mental health problems, and publically telling a number of MPs to "fuck off." John McDonnell, who had spent his entire career trying to bring the left into power within the Labour Party, finally gave up and agreed to split off and form an alliance with the Greens and National Health Action.
Hoping to capitalize on the split in the Labour Party, Gove successfully called for a new election. While Phillips initially considered voting against the dissolving parliament, she was talked out of it by her strategists. It was clear that the British people had grown tired of Brexit, and especially tired of being forced to bow to Paul Nuttall's every demand. A number of suspended Tories ran as independents with the support of the surging Liberal Democrats, whose move to become the party of Remain paid off. Nuttall rejected a pro-Brexit alliance with Gove, given that the two were hardly on speaking terms. After an intensely chaotic campaign, the Tories once again held a minority of seats in parliament. The coalition did not have enough seats to survive, which led to an agreement between the pro-remain parties for a compromise government.
None of the parties had a clear claim to becoming prime minister. Labour was second in seat count, but For The Many refused to let Phillips into Number Ten. Both Phillips and McDonnell were united over the issue of the LibDems, with neither wanting to see austerity champion Vince Cable (who had already announced his retirement) as prime minister. A compromise had to be made and after a large amount of deliberation, Emily Thornberry was asked to meet with the Queen. As an early backed of both Michael Meacher and a second referendum, Thornberry soothed over tensions. While Jess Phillips stayed on as leader of the Labour Party, it was clear after a few months that it was time for the party and the country to have the same person in charge.
As part of her leadership campaign, Thornberry controversially decided to have yearly votes on the continuation of her leadership. The first vote in 2020 was held in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and had an extremely low turnout. As 2021 approached, it was clear that there was a desire for change from the muzzled left-wing as the death count rose and the economy remained stagnant. True to her promise, Thornberry resigned and announced a transition to a new leader.
Clive Lewis was even more of a push to the left than Long-Bailey. A bombastic personality under the past party leaders, his disinterest in compromising with his coalition allies brought about the fall of the government and yet another Labour split. While Lewis formed a popular front with For The Many, both he and Swinson had to bear the brunt of the coalition's governance. Jacob Rees-Mogg, whose Tories dedicated themselves towards those upset about their stolen Brexit, won a majority government and some sense of stability. Of course, stability has never been the friend of the British Labour Party
2015 - 2015: Michael Meacher
Sep. 2015 def. Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Liz Kendall
2015 - 2015: Tom Watson (acting)
2015 - 2017: Lisa Nandy
Dec. 2015 def. Jeremy Corbyn
2017 - 2019: Rebecca Long-Bailey
2017 def. Chuka Umunna
2019 - 2019: Jess Phillips
2019 def. Rebecca Long-Bailey
2019 - 2021: Emily Thornberry
2019 def. Unopposed
2020 Approval Vote: Yes: 85%
2021 Approval Vote: No: 52%
2021 - 0000: Clive Lewis
2021 def. Keir Starmer, Yvette Cooper, David Lammy
2016 - 2017: Theresa May (Conservative)
2017 (Coalition) def. Lisa Nandy (Labour), Nicola Sturgeon (SNP), Paul Nuttall (UKIP), Tim Farron (Liberal Democrats)
2017 - 2018: David Davis (Conservative coalition with UKIP)
2018 - 2019: Michael Gove (Conservative coalition with UKIP)
2019 - 2021: Emily Thornberry (Independent Labour, later Labour)
2019 (Coalition) def. Michael Gove (Conservative), Vince Cable (Liberal Democrats), Caroline Lucas / John McDonnell / Jack Monroe (For The Many), Dominic Grieve (Independent Conservative), Paul Nuttall (UKIP), Nicola Sturgeon (SNP), Alex Salmond (Alliance for Scotland)
2019 EU Referendum: Remain: 52% def. Leave: 48%
2021 - 0000: Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
2021 (Majority) def. Clive Lewis (Labour leading Popular Front with For The Many), Jo Swinson (Liberal Democrats leading Centrist Alliance with One Nation & ChangeUK)