Former Labour Cabinet minister tells Corbyn's team - 'get your arses in gear'

Posted On: 
11th January 2017

A former Home Secretary has launched a stinging attack on Jeremy Corbyn's office, telling his advisers to "get your arses in gear".

Jeremy Corbyn speaking in Peterborough yesterday

Jacqui Smith, who served in Cabinet under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, hit out after a confused performance from Mr Corbyn yesterday on the issues of immigration and a cap on high wages.

She said Mr Corbyn's team had also failed to capitalise on significant "own goals" from the Government such as the resignation of Sir Ivan Rogers and the Red Cross claiming there is a "humanitarian crisis" in the NHS.

Jeremy Corbyn rows back on tough immigration stance

Jeremy Corbyn ditches plan for maximum wage cap

Confusion over Jeremy Corbyn's free movement stance

The Labour leader's team briefed that he would say he was "not wedded" to the principle of EU free movement, only for Mr Corbyn himself to apparently row back on that position during his morning media round.

In the final draft of the speech, Mr Corbyn said Labour was "not wedded to the principle of freedom of movement...nor do we rule it out".

In a piece for Progress, Ms Smith lamented a lack of clarity from the leader's office.

"In addition to having a clear message and delivering it with conviction, it helps if you are only delivering one key message at a time. By the time Corbyn had finished his media interviews this morning he had also announced that he thought there should be a maximum income cap and that he would join the Southern Rail picket line," she wrote. 

"Leaving aside the undesirability of these policies, Labour hearts sank further during the day as clarifications and message trimming blunted any impact that could have come from the speech...

"We are apparently in the era of ‘straight-talking, honest politics’ as opposed to all that New Labour spin and media management. So, in the spirit of straight talking, let me say to the leader’s well-rewarded and well-staffed media team – get your arses in gear and stop embarrassing our party."