Labour needs to elect a leader capable of taking them to victory in the 2020 election and serving as Prime Minister, which is why Andy Burnham should be supported, former leader Neil Kinnock has said.
In an article in the Observer, Kinnock warned against support for Jeremy Corbyn as someone who would not be able to “attract votes from the breadth of the British people by offering coherent, practical answers to daily challenges.”
Trotskyite forces with malign intentions are trying to drag Labour to the far left under Corbyn, Kinnock added.
Meanwhile, Peter Mandelson, who served in the cabinet of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, wrote in the Sunday Times in response to David Ward, the Communication Workers Union general secretary, who endorsed Corbyn as the antidote to the “virus” of Blairism. Mandelson wrote:
When people who have devoted almost all of their lives to the election of a Labour government are labelled a ‘virus’ in our party, we really are at risk of reliving the bitter divisions of the early 1980s, divisions that condemned us to years in the wilderness.
Corbyn is now the favourite to win the Labour leadership vote after having garnered the backing of the two biggest trade unions in the UK. He is also the most popular candidate for the leadership among local constituency groups, according to the latest party nomination figures.
The comments by Kinnock come as Corbyn indicated he would offer cabinet positions to all factions of the party. However, leadership rivals Liz Kendall and Yvette Cooper previously said they would not want to take cabinet positions under Corbyn. Shadow cabinet ministers Chuka Umunna and Tristram Hunt have also said they would not take jobs under Corbyn’s leadership.