Labour leadership race: Tessa Jowell tells rival candidates to 'call the dogs off'

Dame Tessa wants the personal attacks to stop

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Indy Politics

The Labour party’s four leadership rivals should “call the dogs off” because “vile and horrible personal attacks” are damaging the party, Dame Tessa Jowell has said.

One candidate, Liz Kendall, was described this week as “Taliban New Labour”, while a party insider sniped that Andrew Burnham was “all over the place… one minute he lurches to the left and the next he tacks to the centre”.

Yvette Cooper also took a sideswipe at Ms Kendall, saying: “We won’t deliver a Labour government by swallowing the Tory manifesto, Tory plans, or Tory myths.” And Jonathan Reynolds, a shadow energy minister who is supporting Ms Kendall, said left-winger Jeremy Corbyn’s candidacy could “pervert the centre of gravity even further from where the public are”.

Dame Tessa, who plans to stand for London mayor, told The Daily Telegraph that she tried not to think too much about her potential rivals. “Otherwise you become tactical, and that makes for a diminished politics,” she said.

And she criticised the “vile and horrible personal attacks” by supporters of the different Labour party leadership contenders.

“It diminishes the party if a candidate thinks they can lead the party on the back of attacks and smears against other candidates,” she said.

“You don’t win like this, and so my advice to them [the candidates] is to call the dogs off.

“Andy [Burnham] is an utterly decent person, so is Yvette [Cooper], so is Liz Kendall.”

She also criticised Labour figures for attacking Ed Miliband following his defeat in the general election.

“I have so hated this parade of people slagging off Ed Miliband. These are people who supported him and believed what he offered the country. You have to accept collective responsibility,” she said.