Margaret Beckett: I regret nominating Jeremy Corbyn for leader

Posted On: 
22nd July 2015

Margaret Beckett has admitted she regrets nominating Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour leadership contest in light of the momentum behind the left-winger’s campaign. 

Former foreign secretary Margaret Beckett

Ms Beckett was one of a number of Labour MPs who did not support Mr Corbyn, but helped him reach the 35 parliamentary nominations needed to stand.

Mr Corbyn was originally considered a rank outsider to win the leadership, but a YouGov opinion poll for The Times suggests he is in line to win the contest.

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John McTernan, a former adviser to Tony Blair, told Newsnight last night that the MPs who nominated Mr Corbyn to broaden the debate about the direction of the party were “morons”.

Speaking to Radio 4’s the World at One this afternoon, Ms Beckett described Mr McTernan’s remarks as “unhelpful” but said she was having second thoughts about her decision.

“If Jeremy had been a long way behind, I don’t think the thought of nominating him would have crossed my mind,” the former foreign secretary, who is supporting Andy Burnham to be leader, said.

“I had no intention of making a nomination. But then, when it looked as if he might almost be able to stand but then not be able to, I was concerned that people would feel that they had been deprived of the opportunity for that point of view to be aired. And I do think that it is and will be healthy for the party to thrash out this dialogue about austerity or not austerity, what it means, et cetera, et cetera.

“So that was the reason I gave him the nomination, but yes I am beginning to wonder; I’m beginning to wish that I hadn’t, I’ll be quite honest about it.”