Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'

Latest broadside against left-winger comes from party veteran Betty Boothroyd

Click to follow

Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of “deluding” his young supporters with the same “claptrap” that kept the Labour Party out of power during the 1980s.

The latest broadside against the veteran left wing MP who is on course to win Labour’s leadership contest comes from Betty Boothroyd, a veteran of the internal party battle warfare of 30 years ago, who went on to be the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House of Commons.

Ms Boothroyd was a member of the investigating team who looked into infiltration of the party by the Militant organisation, a revolutionary Marxist group who had instructed supporters to join Labour to influence from within. She was among the first to call for the expulsion of the Derek Hatton, then deputy leader of Liverpool Council, among others.

Jeremy Corbyn has never been accused of belonging to any secret organisation, but Ms Boothroyd believes his political ideas, which have not changed in the 1980s, are as damaging as Militant.

Writing in the Sunday Times, she warned: “My old party is galloping towards the precipice. I urge it to heed the jagged rocks before it is too late.”

She added: “It may already be too late. The hard left is deluding a new generation with the same claptrap that it took my generation to discard.

“If Labour ends up on the scrapheap of history, it will do so because of its own foolishness and self-inflicted wounds. What party in its right mind would allow a combination of far-left enemies, militant trade unions and first-time supporters to decide its fate?”

Referring to the battles of the 1980s, she claimed: “We cleaned the stables. They may need cleaning again.”

She also accused the former leader, Ed Miliband, of having “started the rot” by resigning immediately after the party’s defeat in the May general election, which she described as “an act of self-indulgence.”