Frontbencher attacks 'diehard neocons' in Labour over Corbyn Venezuela criticism
One of Jeremy Corbyn’s allies has hit out at the “dwindling band of New Labour neocons” which he said was using the turmoil in Venezuela to sow division in the party.
Mr Corbyn has come under pressure in recent weeks over his historical support for the left-wing Venezuelan government, which has been accused of numerous human rights abuses.
Protests in the Latin American country, prompted by a food crisis, soaring inflation and rising crime levels, have sparked rioting leading to the deaths of 122 people so far.
A vote over a new constitutional body was subject to a boycott by millions of Venezuelans, including opposition politicians, who accuse the president of attempting to strengthen his power.
Mr Corbyn broke his silence on the situation yesterday, when he condemned “violence by all sides” but refused to single out the government led by Nicolas Maduro for criticism.
That triggered a backlash from a number of Labour backbenchers, who called on Mr Corbyn to take a stronger line.
But frontbencher Chris Williamson, who has been a longstanding supporter of both the Labour leader and the Venezuelan government, hit back at those critics.
In a piece for the Morning Star, Mr Williamson said: “The Tories have been fanning the flames and a handful of New Labour diehards have jumped onto the bandwagon to demand that the Labour leader condemn Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro...
“It is perhaps understandable that Labour’s political enemies are using Venezuela’s difficulties to make mischief, but it is frustrating to see the dwindling band of New Labour neocons doing likewise.
“They conveniently ignore the history and the extreme violence of the right-wing opposition groups.”
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