Despite his landslide victory, Corbyn’s critics are still trying to smear him [TWEETS]

Mark Turley

Opponents of re-elected Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have wasted no time in continuing their attacks during the Labour Party conference. Corbyn followed his impressive victory, in which 62% of the eligible membership voted in his favour, by calling for party unity to oppose the Conservative government. Yet many internal critics continue their attacks.

Blairite nostalgia

With Tony Blair’s former Home Secretary David Blunkett saying that Labour under Corbyn is simply ‘not electable’, a Labour First rally held near the main conference echoed his words. Party right-wingers Angela Eagle, Hilary Benn and Yvette Cooper renewed their hostilities towards the leadership. Eagle, who withdrew from an attempt to oust Corbyn in July, said:

They have turned one part of the party against another in a huge blame game. We have all been subject to massive amounts of disgusting and disgraceful vile abuse.

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Meanwhile, a rally for ‘centrist’ group Progress saw other members of the party’s right wing express resentments.

Ian Murray, an MP for Edinburgh South who participated in the ‘chicken coup’ by resigning from the shadow cabinet in June, read out a list of achievements of the Blair government, including “winning three general elections”.

Ilford North MP Wes Streeting also played the ‘unelectable’ card, by declaring in his speech that:

Labour cannot transform lives in opposition and we cannot surrender to a political tradition that would keep us there for generations to come…

Antisemitism smears

Streeting, who has been particularly active across the media during the conference, also rekindled one of the most persistent smears of Jeremy Corbyn’s time in charge, that of antisemitism.

The MP for Ilford North has alleged that leaflets printed by “Jewish socialists against the anti-Corbyn witch-hunt”, which state that “Anti-Zionism is not Antisemitism”, are an example of a “classic anti-Semitic trope”.

This follows in the wake of the latest high-profile resignation from the Labour Party. Lord Parry Mitchell, who describes himself as a Zionist, resigned on Sunday stating:

I am pro-business, pro-Nato, pro-EU, pro-America and of course, pro-Israel. Corbyn and his pals are 180 degrees opposed.

Reaction

Supporters of Corbyn have pointed out that despite continued unelectability allegations, Corbyn keeps winning elections. If given the chance to lead unhindered, they suggest, no one knows what he might achieve.

Pro-Corbyn support group Momentum, meanwhile, has reacted to the latest antisemitism claims. Vice Chair Jackie Walker, who is herself Jewish, declared:

It seems to me that there is little if any hard evidence that the Labour Party has a major problem with anti-Semitism… The most fundamental aim of such allegations is to undermine Jeremy… it is the silencing of any criticism or potential criticism of the Israeli state, attacking and undermining anyone who supports Palestinian rights.

Walker went on to argue that, despite claims that Jewish people feel unwelcome in Corbyn’s Labour, both the chair and vice-chair of Momentum are Jewish, while the leader himself has a long track record of opposing all forms of racism.

But it seems some of Corbyn’s critics within his own party are still eager to attack him by any means possible, and are not ready for unity just yet.

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