Peter Mandelson claims Corbyn must reach beyond 'sectarian' support to win next election
Jeremy Corbyn must reach out to centrists and older voters to secure a working Commons majority, Peter Mandelson claimed today.
The architect of New Labour said Mr Corbyn faced a crucial choice between reinforcing his existing support and trying to attract different people to Labour.
The former Cabinet minister, who helped mastermind a crushing victory for Labour against John Major in 1997, said the Tories were handing Labour "victory on a plate" with their bungled approach to Brexit and internal feuding.
Speaking to the Today programme this morning, Lord Mandelson said: "I think obviously the prospects for the Labour party are now looking very strong. I think Mr Corbyn has a choice.
"First of all, I've talked to two Conservative MPs in the last week in Parliament who are now talking about the threat of annihilation of the Conservative party at the next election and that very referendum that was designed to heal the divisions in the Conservative party has instead deepened them further.
"I think the actual result depends on what Jeremy Corbyn does now and I think he has a choice. In the party he can go for total ideological control of Labour or he can opt instead for unity right across Labour's broad spectrum. And in the country he can either consolidate his sort of sectarian support on the left and amongst young voters or he can additionally embrace more centrist and older voters.
"This is what will make the difference to a slender victory for the Labour party at the next election or a substantial working majority, and obviously I hope he aims for the latter."
Despite his upbeat assessment of Labour's chances, he insisted he was no convert to Corbynism.
"No, I'm not a Corbynista. I am New Labour to my core because I believe in both social justice and economic efficiency.
"But he is the leader, the Tories are giving him and the Labour party victory on a plate at the next election, it seems to me but what sort of victory he gets depends on him and what he does now."