Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Corbyn Cronies Are Blamed for Sabotaging Party's Remain Bid

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Corbyn Cronies Are Blamed for Sabotaging Party's Remain Bid

Article excerpt

Byline: Nicholas Cecil and Joe Murphy

AT LEAST three political saboteurs at the heart of Jeremy Corbyn's team "actively" undermined Labour's campaign to stay in the EU, a former Cabinet minister claimed today.

Former home secretary Alan Johnson, who led the Labour In campaign, alleged that Mr Corbyn either "could not control them" or "was sympathetic to their views".

The senior Labour MP also unleashed a lacerating attack on Mr Corbyn, accusing him of "woeful performances in the Commons", not appearing to be able to move beyond "meaningless platitudes" and lacking the "desire" to take the party into government.

Mr Johnson fired off the salvo as Angela Eagle, who quit earlier this week as shadow business secretary, was expected to announce she is challenging Mr Corbyn for the leadership. In an email to party members in his Hull constituency, the senior MP explained why he had backed the motion of no confidence in Mr Corbyn, and voiced his anger at him for not campaigning more strongly for Britain to remain in the EU.

"There is no doubt in my mind that at least three of his closest associates in the leader's office were actively undermining the party's efforts. They wanted 'Leave' to succeed and at best Jeremy could not control them; at worst he was sympathetic to their views.

"Either way his performance in the campaign was risible and a taster for what to expect in a general election.

"The fact that he refuses to take any responsibility whatsoever adds insult to injury."

Mr Corbyn's aides rejected Mr Johnson's criticisms. His spokesman added: "Two out of three Labour members voted to Remain. That was due to Jeremy's voice on remain and reform resonating."

Following MPs voting 172 to 40 for a motion of no confidence in Mr Corbyn, there were allegations he wanted to resign but was talked out of it by close lieutenants, claims strongly denied by his aides. However, Islington North MP Mr Corbyn was looking increasingly strained, especially at a speech in London last night where he was heckled. As Labour plunged deeper into civil war, one MP attacked Left-wingers close to the leader, saying: "They are keeping him prisoner. …

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