Tony Blair’s former director of communications Alastair Campbell has said he no longer wants to be a Labour member, as he warned the party under Jeremy Corbyn‘s leadership faced an “existential crisis”.
In an open letter to the Labour leader, the former No 10 spin doctor claimed Mr Corbyn is unlikely to win a majority if a general election is called in the coming months.
Insisting Labour could be “destroyed as a serious political force”, Mr Campbell made clear he does not want to rejoin the party. He was expelled in May after saying he had voted for the Liberal Democrats at the European elections in protest at Labour’s stance on Brexit.
In his letter to Mr Corbyn, published today, he wrote: ”With some sadness but absolute certainty, I have reached the conclusion that I no longer wish to stay in the party, even if I should be successful in my appeal or legal challenge.”
The longstanding critic of Mr Corbyn said the party had been “taken over” by Stalinists and Communists, adding: “Let’s stop pretending this is the Labour Party we really believe in.”
Mr Campbell, also a supporter of a Final Say referendum, continued in his letter: “The culture you have helped to create has made the party one that I feel no longer truly represents my values, or the hopes I have for Britain.”
He said he does not blame Mr Corbyn for Brexit, something he ascribed to successive recent Conservative prime ministers and senior Tories, but he said the Labour leader does not understand the gravity of the UK’s situation.
“I see no sign that you and your office have grasped the seriousness of what is happening, let alone devised or begun to execute a strategy to respond and defeat it,” Mr Campbell wrote.
Speaking about his decision on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Campbell also insisted Labour and Jeremy Corbyn are ”asleep on the job”.
“This isn’t about being spiteful,” he added. “I think that with Jeremy Corbyn he has got to look deep into himself and say is he up to the job, is he up to the challenge that [he] now faces because if not, we are heading to a very dark, dangerous place with an unbelievably right-wing, populist government and the answer to which is not a populism of the left.”
He continued: “I don’t think it’s personal, I think I’m saying what I think, it’s based on a lot of experience of campaigns and of politics, and reading it as I read it now, Labour is facing its own existential crisis... I think there is a danger that we’re going to be destroyed as a serious credible political force unless we face up to the reality of what’s going on.”
On Labour’s Brexit policy, Mr Corbyn reiterated at the weekend his support for a referendum on any deal reached with the European Union, and said even if Labour is in government a public vote would be held.
He refused, however, to say whether Labour would back Remain or its own negotiated deal if the party came to power.
“We’ve got to get in office first to negotiate a deal,” he said. “We’ve got to win an election – if we win an election then we’re going to have talks with the European Union. But at the moment, the danger is a no-deal exit on 31 October with all the problems that brings.”
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