Ed Miliband breaks his silence over Jeremy Corbyn, telling MPs: 'I bet you didn't think things would actually get worse'
- Ex-leader has been tight-lipped so far but let slip to a group of Labour MPs
- Mr Corbyn's critics plotting coup if Labour loses by-election in 10 days
- Mr Miliband’s intervention came after Labour’s ‘worst-ever week’
- For more of the latest on the Labour Party visit www.dailymail.co.uk/labour
Former Labour leader Ed Miliband has broken his silence over his successor Jeremy Corbyn – and suggested he was turning out to be an even bigger flop than he was.
Mr Miliband had stayed tight-lipped about Mr Corbyn’s disastrous performance, but last week, he astonished a group of Labour MPs by telling them: ‘I bet you didn’t think things would actually get worse.’
Now Mr Corbyn’s frontbench critics are plotting a coup if Labour loses the Oldham West by-election in ten days’ time.
If their 14,738 majority is overturned by Ukip, they plan to table a no-confidence vote among Labour MPs and mount a mass resignation of Shadow Ministers to force the leader out, with Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn tipped as the favourite interim leader.
Critical: Ed Miliband (left) made the scathing remark that Jeremy Corbyn was an even bigger flop as Labour leader than he was. There could be a coup if Labour lose the Oldham West by-election in 10 days
Mr Miliband made his scathing remarks to Graham Stringer, the Manchester MP who was an outspoken critic of his leadership, in the Commons Smoking Room, an inner sanctum where MPs meet to drink and plot in private.
Mr Miliband then added: ‘But I won’t be appointing you as chairman of the campaign for me to return as leader’. One MP present said there had been ‘a sharp edge’ to Mr Miliband’s remarks, adding: ‘He is obviously not serious about returning as leader, but you get the sense he wants some sort of role again’.
Many MPs blame Mr Miliband for inflicting Mr Corbyn on them by changing the rules of the leadership contest to give the party membership a greater say, allowing Left-wing ‘entryists’ to dominate the election.
Mr Miliband’s intervention came after what was billed as Labour’s ‘worst-ever week’, with Mr Corbyn provoking disbelief by questioning the right of the authorities to ‘shoot to kill’ terrorist suspects and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell being forced to deny he wanted to abolish MI5 and armed police.
And after Shadow Defence Minister Kevan Jones questioned staunch Corbyn ally Ken Livingstone’s credentials to serve on a party review of Trident, the ex-London Mayor sparked fury by claiming Mr Jones, who has suffered from depression, might need ‘psychiatric help’..
That row reached boiling point yesterday in a bitter radio exchange between Mr Livingstone and outspoken Labour MP John Mann, who angrily accused him of being an ‘appalling bigot’ and a ‘bully’.
Just 17% of people think Corbyn will keep them safe in the wake Labour leader's disastrous response to Paris attacks
By Matt Chorley, Political Editor for MailOnline
Jeremy Corbyn's shambolic response to the Paris terror attacks has seen a collapse in support for the Labour leader, with just 17 per cent of people trusting him to keep their families safe.
Four in 10 voters already think Labour should remove the 66-year-old as leader, including almost a third of people who backed the party in May's general election.
It follows a disastrous week in which he said he was 'not happy' about police shooting to kill marauding terrorists, questioned the legality of killing ISIS murderer Jihadi John and vowed to oppose British airstrikes in Syria.
Just 17 per cent of voters think Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would 'keep me and my family safe' while 58 per cent disagree
Some 40 per cent of all voters, and 29 per cent of Labour's May supporters, think Mr Corbyn should be removed as leader
In by far the worst week of his leadership, Mr Corbyn has struggled to get his life-long pacifist political view to chime with the public mood after 130 people were killed by terrorists in Paris.
It has left him open to the charge that he is weak on national security. In the Commons last week his own MPs lined up to condemn him and his supporters as apologists for terrorists.
Days after the Paris attacks, where armed police stormed the Bataclan theatre to bring and end to the terrifying atrocity, Mr Cobyn suggested he would not authorise police in Britain to do the same.
In an interview with BBC News, Mr Corbyn said: 'I'm not happy with the shoot to kill policy in general – I think that is quite dangerous and I think can often can be counter-productive.'
He triggered still further controversy by 'questioning' whether the US drone strike which killed the ISIS monster Jihadi John had been legal.
A new opinion poll by ComRes for the Independent on Sunday suggests the remarks have caused real damage to his public image.
Just 17 per cent think Mr Corbyn would 'keep me and my family safe' while 58 per cent disagree.
Damningly, just 34 per cent of people who voted Labour in May's general election think he would keep them safe.
Mr Corbyn has been warned that if he fails to convince voters he will keep them safe, he will lose the election.
Former Number 10 spin doctor Alastair Campbell warned last week that if Labour was seen as untrusted on security it would lead to an election 'rout'. He wrote on Twitter: 'As May showed you cannot win a general election if behind on economy and leadership. Add security as a negative and it is rout time.'
Former leadership contender Chuka Umunna also warned against Mr Corbyn's pacifist views on shooting terrorists and bombing ISIS, claiming: 'If you cannot keep the people safe, in their eyes that is a disqualification from office.'
Less than two months since he was elected with 60 per cent of the membership's support, Mr Corbyn is already facing calls to be ousted.
Some 40 per cent of all voters and 29 per cent of Labour's May supporters think he should be removed as leader.
Mr Corbyn’s personal popularity has also dipped. The poll showed 50 per cent had an unfavourable opinion about him Mr Corbyn - up from 42 per cent in September when he was elected
Only 27 per cent of people say they plan to vote Labour, down two points on last month, leaving the Conservatives 15 ahead on 42 per cent
Mr Corbyn’s personal popularity has also dipped. The poll showed 50 per cent had an unfavourable opinion about him Mr Corbyn - up from 42 per cent in September when he was elected.
Just 22 per cent had a favourable opinion, creating a net score of -28.
David Cameron splits opinion more evenly, with scores of 38 per cent in favour and 42 per cent against, net -4.
Only 27 per cent of people say they plan to vote Labour, down two points on last month, leaving the Conservatives 15 ahead on 42 per cent.
Ukip are up two at 15 per cent and the Liberal Democrats, SNP and Greens unchanged on 7 per cent, 5 per cent and 3 per cent respectively.
The best-liked prominent politician remains London Mayor and Tory MP Boris Johnson whose stock has been rising and now enjoys a favourability rating of plus 17.
His party leadership rival George Osborne - perhaps damaged by the controversy over tax credit cuts - has a rating of minus 19, second only in the unfavourability rankings to Mr Corbyn.
- ComRes interviewed 2,067 UK adults online between November 18-20 and data were weighted to be demographically representative of all UK adults and by past vote recall
'YOU APPALLING BIGOT'...RED KEN'S ROW WITH TOP MODERATE JOHN MANN
The row sparked by Ken Livingstone saying that Shadow Defence Minister Kevan Jones needed ‘psychiatric help’ deepened yesterday when the former London Mayor clashed with moderate Labour MP John Mann on the capital’s LBC radio station. Here’s an edited sample of their heated exchange:
'Bully': Ken Livingstone on LBC
LIVINGSTONE: Don’t you think it would have been better if rather than slagging me off, he [Jones] might have picked up the phone?
MANN: It’d be far better if you stopped your excruciating apologies for your bigoted views which are so shocking, so appalling that they are unfit in any political party.
LIVINGSTONE: We’re spending £20 billion on Trident… We are not doing enough for people with mental health issues.
MANN: You are a most appalling bigot. Your failure to understand the insults and the hurt you have given to people with mental health problems by trying to excuse your behaviour… You should give an absolute apology to everyone and stop justifying your bigoted remarks.
LIVINGSTONE: An ordinary Labour party member said to me: Do you think those people like Mann would prefer to see the re-election of a Tory government than Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street?
Challenge: John Mann
LIVINGSTONE: That’s the impression you’ve created.
MANN: You are there twisting things and failing to apologise...You’re the one who’s creating dissent. We’ve a by-election for parliament in Oldham… come with me and knock on doors.
LIVINGSTONE: I’m looking after my kids... That’s my priority. I’m the house husband.
MANN: You’re all mouth, you’re all mouth.
LIVINGSTONE: Why don’t you say something critical about an MP who attacks someone he’s never spoken to, smears them and says they are not fit to do the job?
MANN: The only smear is you using mental health in the most disgusting way... You are a bully attacking Kevan Jones.
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