THE election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader would be a “car crash” and the party faces a battle for survival, Tony Blair’s former spin doctor Alastair Campbell has warned.
Mr Campbell called for Labour supporters to back “anyone but Corbyn”, in a dramatic intervention that reflects growing alarm among senior party figures ahead of the leadership contest entering its final month tomorrow.
t frankly means ABC, Anyone But CorbynAlastair Campbell
Opinion polls suggest Mr Corbyn is poised to defeat his three rivals in the contest.
Mr Campbell told party members and supporters who will receive their voting forms in the next week that a triumph for Mr Corbyn would show that Labour had “given up on being a serious party of government”.
The key New Labour figure said just as if he was on a bicycle ride and saw a car crash about to happen he would alert the drivers to the danger “so I think I have to say something about what appears to be happening to Labour right now”.
He welcomed the fact that Mr Corbyn had inspired people to show an interest in politics but advised those who saw him as “some kind of cross between Russell Brand, Nicola Sturgeon and their favourite uncle” to examine Labour’s recent history.
Mr Campbell, writing on his blog, said: “The two main parties, when choosing a leader, are picking the person they intend thereafter to try to persuade the people of the UK ‘this is who should be your prime minister’.
“And yet the Labour Party, if it elects Jeremy Corbyn as leader, is selecting someone that every piece of political intelligence, experience and analysis tells you will never be elected prime minister.”
He added: “Whatever the niceness and the current warm glow, Corbyn will be a leader of the hard left, for the hard left, and espousing both general politics and specific positions that the public just are not going to accept in many of the seats that Labour is going to have to win to get back in power.”
Mr Campbell backed former Labour home secretary Alan Johnson in claiming that “the madness of flirting with the idea of Corbyn as leader has to stop”.
He said: “That means no first preferences, no second preferences, no any preferences. It frankly means ABC, Anyone But Corbyn.”
In a blunt message to Mr Corbyn’s rivals Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall, Mr Campbell said they “need to show now they understand they are in a fight not just to be Labour leader, but to save the party”.
Ms Kendall, regarded as the Blairite candidate in the field, said in a radio interview: “I don’t think Jeremy’s policies are right for 2015, let alone 2020 or 2025.”
There were further signs of concern within Labour at the leadership election process, which has been hit by claims that members of far-left groups and Conservative supporters had signed up to take part.
Senior Labour MP Barry Sheerman, a supporter of Ms Kendall, called for the contest to be “paused” following claims members of far-left groups and Conservative supporters had signed up to take part.