Emily Thornberry rejects 'moron' jibe at Corbyn nominators

Posted On: 
22nd July 2015

Emily Thornberry has hit back at Labour figures who labelled her a “moron” for nominating Jeremy Corbyn while supporting another leadership candidate. 

Ms Thornberry was one of a number of MPs to lend their votes to Mr Corbyn so that he could enter the contest.

Margaret Beckett, the former foreign secretary who also nominated Mr Corbyn, admitted at lunchtime that she regretted her decision.

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After a poll showed the left-winger leading the race to replace Ed Miliband, John McTernan, a former adviser to Tony Blair, called the MPs who nominated him without supporting him “morons”.

But Ms Thornberry, who is backing Yvette Cooper’s campaign, said this evening she had made the right decision.

“There is nothing moronic about democracy,” she told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme.

“We have a quarter of a million people who are members of the Labour party who are going to be making this decision and they need to have the opportunity of listening to all the different parts of the Labour party, be able to think carefully about what they’re doing.”

She added: “I nominated Jeremy because I think he represents an important of body of thought within the Labour party.  I don’t think it necessarily represents the whole of the Labour party, but I think that many of the things that he has to say are important, they’re important challenges and they need to be answered.”

Speaking earlier today, Ms Beckett took a different stance, saying she regretted her decision: “I am beginning to wonder; I’m beginning to wish that I hadn’t, I’ll be quite honest about it.”

Both Ms Beckett and Ms Thornberry criticised Mr McTernan for his criticism.

Ms Beckett said the comments were “unhelpful”, while Ms Thornberry was more strident: “Yeah, yeah, yeah, John McTernan, don’t you love him?... We ought to proceed in this debate in a comradely fashion and John ought to know that. He ought to know better, really.”

TONY BLAIR

Mr Blair spoke at an event himself this morning about the state of Labour, when he warned that Mr Corbyn’s policies were like going “back to Star Trek”.

The comments triggered more criticism from Ms Thornberry, who said: “I thought that some of his off-the-cuff answers to comments were unworthy of him, really...

“The Star Trek stuff was a bit stupid, wasn’t it?... I heard the Star Trek comment and wondered what on earth he was talking about.”