Former Labour foreign secretary David Miliband has accused Jeremy Corbyn of trying to “wreck” Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership as the party descends into a factional civil war.
Members of the far-left faction have been vocal over the past week in blaming party moderates for Labour’s 2017 election defeat, with Corbyn accusing officials of sabotaging the campaign.
Labour lost the election, picking up 264 seats, but kept Theresa May’s Conservatives from winning a majority.
However, Miliband has told Times Radio today that Corbyn was purposefully stoking conflict within the party and that it would lead to further election defeats.
“This is a pure wrecking tactic from Jeremy Corbyn and the Corbynite’s denial after four successive defeats is a route to more defeats,” he said.
“We learned that after 1992, we got out of denial and we won in ‘97. Actually, we won three elections on the trot.
“When people got to look at Labour in 2017, we couldn’t beat the worst Tory campaign in history… and then when people got the full measure of Jeremy Corbyn in 2019, he led us to the worst election defeat since the 1930s.”
The claims of sabotage first emerged after a leaked document earlier this year showed some party officials talking about their apparent desire for Labour to lose the election while Corbyn was leader.
Those who were named in the report claim that they were selectively quoted and some are considering legal action as the leak could be a breach of data security laws.
Many of the conversations in the report were over email and WhatsApp.
Starmer has commissioned an investigation into the allegations, which will be led by Martin Forde QC.
The Guardian reported that Corbyn, and his allies, told the inquiry: “It’s not impossible that Jeremy Corbyn might now be in his third year as a Labour prime minister were it not for the unauthorised, unilateral action taken by a handful of senior party officials.”