Ex-Labour deputy leader says party in 'danger of disintegration' under Jeremy Corbyn

Posted On: 
8th April 2018

A former deputy Labour leader has warned the party is “in danger of disintegration” under Jeremy Corbyn.

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Lord Hattersley said the party was in a worse situation than during the 1980s when he and then-leader Neil Kinnock fought against the hard-left group Militant.

It comes after the left faction of the party took control of the Labour National Executive Committee as well as other internal committees and key roles such as the job of general secretary.

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The Labour grandee argued voters “do not trust Corbynism and Corbyn in particular” and urged “people of sense and moderation and reason” to speak out.

But he dismissed calls for a new centrist party as “fantasy talk,” adding that “third parties all end in fiascos”.

He told BBC Radio 4's Westminster Hour: “I think the Labour party is in a much more dangerous situation than it was in the 1980s.

"In the 1980s there was entryism, there was the Militant Tendency, but they only operated in one or two small constituencies.

“They didn’t control the machine, they certainly didn’t control the leader, there were trade unions who were prepared to stand out against them and we always knew that the battle in the 1980s would eventually be won.

“Now things are much more serious because people who are not ‘real Labour’ as I define it are increasingly in control of the machine, they’re increasingly taking over constituencies, they’re increasingly bullying moderate MPs.

“And if it goes on like this the Labour party is in danger of disintegration.”

He added: “The people of sense and moderation and reason are very, very silent and that is a tragedy for the Labour party as great as the Corbyn election was a tragedy for the Labour party.”

Lord Hattersley also warned against the deselection of MPs with the potential to be Cabinet ministers - amid continual threats that those unsympathetic to Mr Corbyn could be ousted.

“If two or three of those are de-selected, then I think mayhem follows because other members of Parliament will be nervous," he explained.

"Other members of Parliament will be resentful and then we start talking again about the disaster of a split and a third party.”