EXCL: Labour a 'Moonie-like sect' under Jeremy Corbyn, says ex-minister

Posted On: 
14th August 2016

Labour has transformed into a "Moonie-like sect" under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, according to one of the party's former ministers.

Former Labour minister Lord Watts has taken aim at embattled party leader Jeremy Corbyn
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In an outspoken attack, Dave Watts also accused pro-Corbyn group Momentum of not caring whether Labour wins the next election because many of its supporters are from "relatively affluent backgrounds" and won't be affected by a Tory government.

In particular, the former union official hit out at the privately-educated Seumus Milne, Mr Corbyn's £97,000-a-year spin doctor.

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Writing exclusively for PoliticsHome, Lord Watts, who is supporting Owen Smith in the upcoming leadership election, said: “Up until this year I was a member of a serious left-of-centre political party whose focus was to win elections so that we could improve the lives of millions of ordinary people.

“It remains somewhat of a mystery to me how in such a short period of time we have been transformed into a Moonie-like political sect.”

The former government whip added: “The present leadership of the party, Momentum and other associated left wing groups appear to think that their own individual pious principles are more important than winning elections.

“I am angered by the fact that many of those who espouse such views appear to be from relatively affluent backgrounds and for whom the re-election of a right wing Conservative governments has little effect.

Lord Watts argued that nobody illustrated the point better than Mr Corbyn's “right hand man” Seamus Milne.

“Seumas is the son of the ex BBC Director General, he was educated at a school which costs over £30,000 a year, worked as the Guardian’s Associate Editor before taking his current role at a cost of £97,000 a year to the taxpayer,” he wrote.

“For people like Seumas losing elections are of little consequence.”

The former Unite shop steward urged supporters of Mr Corbyn to ask themselves why the embattled leader had so little support among his MPs and if there was any evidence Labour could win an election under his leadership.

He concluded: “Continuing to behave like a left wing sect that speaks only to a small number of its adoring fans is the road to electoral disaster.”

'STRONG PARTY'

At a rally in Milton Keynes yesterday, Mr Corbyn insisted Labour was a “strong party” and with the support of its 500,000 members could win an election with him at its helm.

He said the ongoing leadership race was about “how we enthuse, excite and mobilise people to win things in their community and ultimately win things for all communities".

Mr Corbyn faces a leadership challenge from Mr Smith following an overwhelming vote of no confidence among his MPs and mass resignations from his shadow ministerial team.