Jeremy Corbyn couldn’t empathise with ‘prosperous’ Jews and stopped talking to shadow Chancellor John McDonnell for months, new book claims
- Aides detail infighting between key players and absence on Corbyn on decisions
- Advisor Andrew Murray sheds light on Corbyn’s failure to address antisemitism
- Reports have also been made that Corbyn infuriated MP John McDonnell when he refused to intervene in disciplinary matters against Dame Margaret Hodge
- Details come from new book Left Out: The Inside Story of Labour under Corbyn
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn couldn’t empathise with today’s ‘prosperous’ Jewish community and stopped talking to shadow Chancellor John McDonnell for months, a new book claims.
Stunning new details from the party’s largest general election defeat since 1935 have come to light in Left Out: The Inside Story of Labour under Corbyn, written by two journalists with front row seats to Labour’s calamitous attempt to gain power.
Former aides have revealed non-stop infighting between top strategists, Jeremy Corbyn’s anger at losing control of his diary, and his own wife’s on screen snipes.
According to the Times, former senior advisor Andrew Murray spoke to the authors about Mr Corbyn’s failure to deal with antisemitism in the party.
Labour campaign chiefs feared that Jeremy Corbyn himself was sabotaging the party’s 2019 general election campaign, a new book has claimed
Andrew Murray, left, has said Corbyn (right) struggled to empathise with today’s Jewish community because they were relatively prosperous unlike back in the 1930s (file photo)
Mr Murray, a Unite trade unionist, told them: ‘He is very empathetic Jeremy, but he’s empathetic with the poor, the disadvantaged, the migrant, the marginalised, the people at the bottom of the heap.
‘Happily, that is not the Jewish community in Britain today. He would have had massive empathy with the Jewish community in Britain in the 1930s[…]
‘But, of course, the Jewish community today is relatively prosperous.’
Serialised in The Sunday Times, the book details how Jeremy Corbyn ignored his chief of staff Karie Murphy who had suggested a visit to Auschwitz as a gesture after he faced criticism for failing to address antisemitism in the Labour Party.
It also reveals Mr Corbyn fell out with John McDonnell to the extent that the pair didn’t speak to each other ‘for months’.
The book claims Mr McDonnell was unhappy with the disciplinary matters against Jewish MP Dame Margaret Hodge who had questioned Mr Corbyn about antisemitism in the Commons and Mr McDonnell was furious that Jeremy didn’t intervene.
Left Out, by Gabriel Pogrund and Patrick Maguire. claims top advisors knew the party was heading towards electoral disaster months before voters went to the polls in 2019, but were unable to stop it.
But in a damning revelation, the advisor find those present, including party chairman Ian Lavery and John Donnell’s wife Cynthia, rejected the warning that the party was losing votes to the Conservatives.
‘People in the north just won’t vote Tory,’ said Lavery, MP for Wansbeck. ‘It just won’t happen!’
But with just two weeks to go and YouGov putting Conservatives ahead by 359 seats to Labour’s 211, any changes including a suggestion to adopt a new campaign slogan of ‘We’re on your side’ would be futile.
The Conservatives won with 365 seats to Labour’s 202.
Book details how Mr Corbyn fell out with John McDonnell (pictured) to the extent that the pair didn’t speak to each other ‘for months’ over a disciplinary matter involving MP Margaret Hodge
Former aides have revealed non-stop infighting between top strategists, Jeremy Corbyn’s anger at losing control of his diary, and his own wife’s on screen snipes. Pictured: Corbyn with his office director Karie Murphy
Weakness on Brexit
Waters’ polling suggested that voters did not trust Labour on Brexit, at the time a position of having a Second Referendum on a Labour deal which some MPs could campaign against.
This convinced McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor, that Labour had to win back pro-EU voters.
The party would therefore refrain from discussing the detail of Brexit and ‘extol the virtues of giving voters the final say via a second referendum’.
But several figures including Corbyn’s chief strategist Seumas Milne had argued against this strategy, saying that it would alienate the working class in favour of Boris Johnson’s ‘Get Brexit Done’.
The book suggests that those who shared Milne’s viewpoint were outmuscled over Brexit, which would become a key point of the campaign.
The book reveals that top figures including John McDonnell knew to party was heading towards electoral disaster months before voters went to the polls in 2019, but were unable to stop it
Infighting between advisors
As planning for the campaign got underway, McDonnell would lead discussions, with Karie Murphy, the Executive Director of Corbyn’s office sometimes stepping in.
But wary of being blamed for decisions she was unable to take, Murphy would constantly remind people in the room she was not in charge.
Seamus Milne, Corbyn’s Chief Advisor, who was a key figures in decision for the 2017 campaign, had also lowered himself from a role of decision maker.
The lack of leadership was combined with infighting between advisors.
Policy adviser Andrew Fisher would refuse to share the draft manifesto with Milne — or anyone he regarded as being in the Milne/Murphy Brexit axis to stop their influence.
In turn Murphy closely guarded Corbyn’s diary ‘grid’, and Niall Sookoo, Labour’s director of elections, refused to share his list of key seats with Milne or Murphy.
Seamus Milne, Corbyn’s Chief Advisor, who was a key figures in decision for the 2017 campaign, had also lowered himself from a role of decision maker
After four-years as Labour leader, defeat in the Brexit referendum and a draining antisemitism row, Corbyn’s energy was sapped heading into the election.
Polling in 2019 also put him as the most unpopular Labour leader of the past 45 years.
Paul Hilder, a data consultant to the campaign, warned — just as Labour MPs did after their weekly surgeries — that the leader had become a liability.
He recommended that the party deploy a broader team of spokespeople to neutralise the damage a campaign that relied on Corbyn alone would do.
But with a reduced diary and control taken away, Corbyn proved irritable.
In another example in the book, Corbyn threw what one aide described as a ‘tantrum’ when he learnt that his campaign bus was powered by a diesel engine – the sort that his own manifesto promised to outlaw by 2030
In one case, McDonnell proposed that Corbyn would upstage Boris Johnson by making a visit to parts of Yorkshire and the midlands affected by the floods to highlight cuts to flood defences overseen by the coalition.
But Corbyn refused to go, citing the fact he had not been kept in the loop after his office director Murphy took control of his diary and only fed him parts at a time.
The Labour leader became increasingly more frustrated as decisions were taken out of his hands.
In another example in the book, Corbyn threw what one aide described as a ‘tantrum’ when he learnt that his campaign bus was powered by a diesel engine – the sort that his own manifesto promised to outlaw by 2030.
In protest, he refused to use the battle bus, opting for trains and public transport. This drew ire from his team, as they struggled to reach him with constant poor phone reception while travelling the country.