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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Labour peers abandon Corbyn

The Times reports that one of Labour’s most high-profile peers has quit the party’s benches in the House of Lords because of Jeremy Corbyn.

They say that Lord Grabiner, a barrister and master of Clare College, Cambridge, left at the end of September because “I can’t square [staying] with my conscience”. He is the third member of the Labour benches in the House of Lords to desert since Corbyn was elected as leader. Lord Adonis, the former cabinet minister, left the Labour benches last month and Lord Warner, the former health minister, quit this week:

Lord Grabiner told The Times: “I have nothing in common whatever with Mr Corbyn — and I don’t believe we are ever going to win an election.”

He said that he was particularly concerned about Mr Corbyn’s decision to appoint John McDonnell as his shadow chancellor. “I am concerned with the economic stuff; I am really concerned with the shadow chancellor,” he said.

Mr Corbyn’s proposals and views “are terribly damaging and there is no effective opposition” to the Conservatives, Lord Grabiner said. Labour “is in disarray”, he added, saying: “I was a David Miliband man but we then had five years of Ed Miliband and now Corbyn — that’s my real problem.”

He had intended to meet Labour officials and whips next week but “that won’t go ahead now — there’s no point”.

Meanwhile, another Labour peer has made a scathing assessment of his party's new leader:

Lord Mandelson was more brutal. “I don’t think he’s growing into the job at all,” said the peer, who masterminded Tony Blair’s campaign to win media support for new Labour.

He picked out Mr Corbyn’s appointment of Seumas Milne, the Guardian columnist as his press chief, for particular scorn.

“He’s completely unsuited to such a job — he has little connection with mainstream politics or mainstream media in the country and yet he’s in charge of communications for the Labour party,” Lord Mandelson said.

If Corbyn is still struggling to convince his own party that he is the real deal then there is still a lot of work to do.
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