Lord Blunkett: ‘antisemitism and thuggery in Labour make me despair’

Lord Blunkett: ‘antisemitism and thuggery in Labour make me despair’

Former Home Secretary said the likelihood of Jeremy Corbyn winning a majority was "extraordinarily slim" as he sounds concerns over party's handling of the Jew-hate row

David Blunkett (Wikipedia/Policy Exchange)
David Blunkett (Wikipedia/Policy Exchange)

Labour’s election campaign has suffered another heavy blow as former home secretary David Blunkett said the “antisemitism” and “thuggery” in the party makes him “despair”.

Lord Blunkett, who was an MP for 28 years and now sits as a Labour peer in the upper chamber, said the likelihood of Jeremy Corbyn winning a majority was “extraordinarily slim”.

But he urged moderates within the party to “stay and fight” to ensure the “voice of reason” prevailed, following deputy leader Tom Watson’s decision to stand down.

The former Cabinet minister and party chairman’s comments came after a bruising week for the party which has seen two of its former MPs urge voters to back the Tories instead.

Ian Austin and John Woodcock said they would be supporting the Conservatives as they did not believe Mr Corbyn was fit to be in Number 10.

And on Friday, Dame Margaret Hodge – one of the most prominent Jewish figures in Labour – declined to endorse the Opposition leader as prime minister.

Writing in the Telegraph, Lord Blunkett said: “The behaviour of the hard-Left within the Labour Party – the antisemitism, the thuggery, the irrational views on security and international issues, and the lack of realisation that you have to embrace a big tent of people in order to win – certainly makes me despair.

“But it also makes the likelihood of an all-out Labour majority in this general election extraordinarily slim. The political landscape right now is completely different to what the hard-Left would have you believe.

His intervention comes after another Labour candidate stepped down after allegedly making an antisemitic remark.

Gideon Bull, the prospective parliamentary candidate for Clacton, apologised after a Jewish councillor complained about a reference he made to “Shylock” – the Jewish moneylender in Shakespeare’s The Merchant Of Venice.

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