Lord Kinnock lays into Jeremy Corbyn for post-Brexit 'silence or ignorance'
Former Labour leader Neil Kinncok has launched an excoriating attack on Jeremy Corbyn’s post-Brexit strategy, as he endorsed Owen Smith to seize the party reins.
Lord Kinnock accused Mr Corbyn of showing “either ignorance, a complete lack of concern for the instability and uncertainty following exit, or a willingness to let the Tory Brexiteers run amok”.
In an article for The Guardian, the party grandee said Mr Corbyn had “either been silent on this central issue or so soft voiced that no one has heard a word”.
“It seems that he just wants to leave it all to the Tories who haven’t even got a government majority on the issue. That’s not leadership,” the peer wrote.
Lord Kinnock chairs the party affiliated Labour Movement for Europe group, which nominated Mr Smith for leader by a margin of 10 to 1 this weekend.
He laid into Mr Corbyn’s performance during the referendum campaign as “listless” and suggested a “campaign effort worthy of a leader” may have improved the result.
The peer argued Labour needed a leader who was “up to the task” and would assert the party’s role in “shaping and negotiating the UK’s future relations with the EU”.
Lord Kinnock argued Owen Smith was that leader, describing the Pontypridd MP as “a dedicated and knowledgeable European reformer; a gutsy campaigner and negotiator with radical and credible policies”.
Mr Smith has called for Labour to play a central role in the Brexit negotiations and for Britain to hold a second referendum on the terms of any deal.
But Mr Corbyn has insisted the result of the referendum must be accepted, arguing “the people have clearly said ‘no’” to staying in the EU.
He has consistently rejected the charge that he ran a half-hearted referendum campaign, and has argued he spoke at more events than most senior politicians.
“He has made numerous speeches, been at dozens of rallies, done a TV debate and has made innumerable statements,” an ally told The Huffington Post shortly after the Brexit vote.
“Jeremy Corbyn has strongly led the Labour In campaign,”
He is leagues ahead of Mr Smith in nominations from constituency Labour parties, with 273 nominations to his challenger’s 51.
The result of the Labour leadership contest will be announced on 24 September.