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Ed Miliband jokes that Jeremy Corbyn is an even worse Labour leader than him

Former leader understood to have told one of the party's MPs: 'I bet you didn’t think things would actually get worse'

Oliver Wright
Political Editor
Sunday 22 November 2015 17:26 GMT
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Emergence of Mr Miliband’s remarks will embarrass former leader and comes after torrid week for Mr Corbyn
Emergence of Mr Miliband’s remarks will embarrass former leader and comes after torrid week for Mr Corbyn (Getty Images)

Ed Miliband has been overheard joking to party MPs that Jeremy Corbyn is an even worse Labour leader than he was.

In public, Mr Miliband has been assiduously silent about what he thinks about his successor’s performance so far.

But in private he is understood to have told one of the party’s MPs: “I bet you didn’t think things would actually get worse.”

According to the Mail on Sunday Mr Miliband made his comments to Graham Stringer, a Manchester MP who was an outspoken critic of his leadership.

He then jokingly added: “But I won’t be appointing you as chairman of the campaign for me to return as leader”.

According to one MP who heard the exchange there had been ‘a sharp edge’ to Mr Miliband’s remarks.

“He is obviously not serious about returning as leader, but you get the sense he wants some sort of role again,” he said.

The emergence of Mr Miliband’s remarks will embarrass the former leader and comes after a torrid week for Mr Corbyn.

He was attacked for questioning the right of the police to ‘shoot to kill’ terrorist suspects and was criticised for his reaction to the attacks in Paris.

His Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell was also forced to deny he wanted to abolish MI5 and armed police.

Mr Corbyn is also facing a crucial test of his electability at the Oldham West by-election in ten days’ time.

Labour has a majority of 14,738 but is facing a strong challenge from Ukip who are playing up national security concerns as part of their campaign to win the seat.

Some have speculated that should Labour lose that might trigger a no-confidence vote among Labour MPs and a mass resignation of Shadow Ministers. However, most people expect Labour to hold the seat all be it with a reduced majority.

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