Former home secretary David Blunkett has dealt a fresh blow to Labour’s election campaign, stating the ‘anti-Semitism’ and ‘thuggery’ in the party makes him ‘despair’.
Lord Blunkett, who sits as a Labour peer in the upper chamber, says the likelihood of Jeremy Corbyn winning a majority is ‘extraordinarily slim’.
He compared the upcoming General Election to the 1983 election which saw Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Party secure a large majority after opposition voters were split between Labour and the Liberal/SDP Alliance.
Despite his damning comments, he urged moderates within the party to ‘stay and fight’ and ensure the ‘voice of reason’ prevailed.
Writing in the Telegraph, Blunkett said: ‘The behaviour of the hard left within the Labour party – the antisemitism, the thuggery, the irrational views on security and international issues, and the lack of realisation that you have to embrace a big tent of people in order to win – certainly makes me despair.
‘But it also makes the likelihood of an all-out Labour majority in this general election extraordinarily slim.
‘The political landscape right now is completely different to what the hard-left would have you believe.
‘We are in a 1983 situation here, not a 2017 one – with not only the Lib Dems and the Greens, but the Brexit party, the Tories and the SNP all seriously vying for traditional Labour votes.’
When asked about Lord Blunkett’s comments on a visit to Leeds, Mr Corbyn said he was ‘sorry that David Blunkett has chosen this time to say that’.
He said: ‘I lead a party that is huge – it’s half a million members.
‘I lead a party that’s very determined to tackle inequality, poverty and injustice in this country.’
The former Cabinet minister and party chairman’s words come after a turbulent week for Corbyn, with two former MPs advising voters to back the Tories.
Ian Austin, who quit the party in February in protest of Labour’s anti-Semitism scandal, branded the Labour leader ‘completely unfit to lead our country’.
Meanwhile, John Woodcock – who is not standing for parliament because he is expecting a baby with his partner – said Corbyn was ‘fundamentally unfit to hold any high office’.
On Friday, Dame Margaret Hodge – one of the most prominent Jewish figures in Labour – also declined to endorse the Opposition leader as prime minister.
When asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme whether she would prefer Mr Corbyn or Mr Johnson, she replied saying she wanted a Labour government.
However, she added that the government was ‘more than any individual’.
The string of blows for Labour are worsened by a prospective parliamentary candidate for Clacton stepping down after being accused of making an anti-Semitic remark.
A Jewish councillor complained after Gideon Bull made a reference to ‘Shylock’, the Jewish moneylender in Shakespeare’s The Merchant Of Venice, in a meeting.
Bull has apologised for making the comment but denies any intention to insult.
Jeremy Corbyn has also vowed to investigate claims a member of his top team sang ‘Hey Jews’ to the song ‘Hey Jude’ on a coach trip two years ago.
Dan Carden, the shadow international development secretary, denied allegations he sang antisemitic lyrics to the Beatles song on journey back to London from the Cheltenham races in March 2018.
Boris Johnson has also been slammed this week for ‘not understanding his Brexit deal’ or what it means for businesses in Northern Ireland.
The prime minister claimed his deal meant ‘no checks’ on goods’ between Northern Ireland and Britain in a ‘rambling’ speech this week.
However, his claims have been contradicted by Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay.
Another blow for Mr Johnson saw the Bank of England downgrade the country’s economic growth forecasts, blaming his Brexit deal.