Conservative glee at Jeremy Corbyn’s predicted impending victory in the Labour leadership contest is “totally misplaced”, a Tory MP has said.
Zac Goldsmith, who wants to be the next mayor of the capital, said Mr Corbyn could capture Britain’s “zeitgeist” and potentially ride a wave of support that confounded his critics.
The eurosceptic MP also said that alternatively Mr Corbyn could fail to provide effective opposition to the Conservatives and leave the country worse off.
“I think it’s totally misplaced and I’m amazed that any colleagues would be licking their lips at the prospect because one of two things can happen: either Jeremy Corbyn flops, in which case the Government has no effective opposition – and no government is going to perform well without effective opposition, it’s what makes good government. If you believe in democracy, you need a good opposition,” he told LBC Radio.
“And the alternative is that he doesn’t flop, that he captures the zeitgeist and people get wildly excited across the country, not just the union members or the people who are signing up in the last few days. And I think that’s even more worrying because we’d be taking this country into a very dangerous terrain. So I don’t see any good coming out of this at all.”
He added that he agreed with Mr Corbyn's opposition to Heathrow expansion.
Mr Goldsmith’s comments are in contrast to those of some other Conservative supporters, who say they believe Mr Corbyn would be a poor leader of the opposition and give them a free hand.
The Conservative-supporting Daily Telegraph newspaper last month published an article encouraging its readers to sign up for the Labour party and vote for Mr Corbyn.
Such a move would “destroy the Labour Party”, the newspaper wrote.
Labour leadership: The Contenders
Labour leadership: The Contenders
1/2 Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn started off as the rank outsider in the race to replace Ed Miliband and admitted he was only standing to ensure the left of the party was given a voice in the contest. But the Islington North MP, who first entered Parliament in 1983, is now the firm favourite to be elected Labour leader on September 12 after a surge in left-wing supporters signing up for a vote.
2/2 Andy Burnham
Andy Burnham started out as the front-runner in the leadership election, seen as the candidate of the left until Jeremy Corbyn entered the race. The former Cabinet minister has found himself squeezed between the growing populism of Corbyn’s radical agenda and the moderate, centre-left Yvette Cooper, not knowing which way to turn. It has attracted damaging labels such as ‘flip-flop Andy’, most notably over his response to the Government’s Welfare Bill. He remains hopeful he can win enough second preference votes to take him over the 50 per cent threshold ahead of Corbyn.
Figures around Labour’s establishment have also expressed concern at Mr Corbyn’s rise.
Last placed candidate Liz Kendall said he would consign the party to the "wilderness", while former prime minister Tony Blair said it could face “annihilation” at his hands.
Former spinner Alastair Campbell has suggested an “Anyone But Corbyn” (ABC) strategy.
A poll by YouGov for the Times newspaper found Mr Corbyn with a significant lead on first preference votes. He also tops constituency party nominations.Reuse content