FORMER Labour home secretary David Blunkett has become the latest high profile figure to counsel against electing left winger Jeremy Corbyn as leader, arguing the party needed someone who “above all can actually do something about winning”.
Mr Blunkett said he had been a Labour member for more than 52 years, 30 of which had been spent in opposition and warned filling halls with activists did not necessarily translate to securing power nationally.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I want someone who can be radical, can have a very clear vision of where Britain will be in five years’ time and above all can actually do something about winning.”
He added: “What’s on my heart is what happened to us in the early 1980s when, yes it was invigorating, it was exhilarating. I was leader of Sheffield City Council, I was a member of the national executive committee of the Labour Party.
“We filled halls, we filled Trafalgar Square and we were hammered in the 1983 election, and again in ‘87 and again in ‘92.”
Mr Blunkett said he “wholeheartedly” supported leadership contender Andy Burnham as well as Caroline Flint as deputy leader.
His comments following interventions from former Labour prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, plus Lord Kinnock.
Mr Corbyn, the surprise front runner, Mr Blunkett said, “represents very good opposition” and had a track record of opposing his own party.
He said: “If you want a really good, vigorous outriding opposition and you want to continue being in opposition, vote for somebody who is good at opposition.
“And Jeremy has not only been good at opposition against the Tories, he has been profoundly good at opposition against my party.”
He added: “I want someone who can actually address the world of tomorrow, rather than taking us back to old Labour or for that matter New Labour in the ‘90s because we’re addressing an entirely different world.”
Islington North MP Mr Corbyn said he was “humbled” to have the backing of Scottish newspaper the Daily Record.
He said: “I’m sure that at least in part, this endorsement will have been made with Labour’s future in Scotland in mind, which is important as Labour has a real need to reconnect with communities in Scotland if we are to succeed across the UK.
“Labour cannot advance in Scotland if we do not reconnect with the Scottish people and we cannot win a general election without speaking to Scotland.”