Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi launches attack on Jeremy Corbyn

Renzi, who has implemented austerity at home, undermined his supposed European ally

Jon Stone
Tuesday 22 September 2015 13:56
Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn

Italy’s prime minister has launched an attack on the new leader of Britain’s Labour Party, accusing him of being unable to win an election.

Despite being part of the same Europe-wide centre-left grouping as Labour Matteo Renzi predicted that Jeremy Corbyn would not take Labour to victory.

Mr Renzi, who was nominated by his party and has not yet faced a general election, said Labour should treat elections like a sporting event that they should win at all costs.

“After what happened with Corbyn, I think [David] Cameron is the happiest of all about Corbyn’s win,” he said.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has been compared to Tony Blair

“It’s not a question of being Blairite or anti-Blairite, it’s a matter of ‘Do you want to go to elections like you go to the Olympics, to win or to participate’?

“The last one called ‘Red’ was Ed Miliband, who took a mighty slap in the face from Cameron. I don’t think people who want to get out of Nato want to win elections.

Mr Corbyn’s policy on Nato is in fact to oppose the alliance’s expansion eastwards and not to leave.

Mr Renzi, from Italty’s centre-left Democratic Party, has governed under a right-wing programme, scrapping workers’ rights regulations and imposing austerity cuts.

Most recently he provoked ire from his own MPs after allying with former prime minister and convicted tax evader Silvio Berlusconi to force through controversial constitutional changes.

His intervention in British politics echo those Tony Blair, who branded Mr Corbyn as “the Tory preference” during the leadership campaign.

The former prime minister, to whom Mr Renzi has been compared, said anyone who supported Mr Corbyn in their heart should “get a transplant”.

Mr Renzi’s claim is in contrast to that of Greece’s government, which was re-elected at the weekend.

The left-wing Syriza party, headed by Alexis Tspiras, said Mr Corbyn’s election gave hope to those suffering at the hands of pro-austerity governments around Europe.

Italy will hold its next general election by 2018.

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