Jeremy Corbyn is facing a major split with Sadiq Khan, who launched a scathing attack on the party leader just hours after his stunning victory to become London Mayor.
In an extraordinary public snub, Mr Corbyn failed to turn up to the inauguration ceremony for Mr Khan at Southwark Cathedral, even though his predecessor as Labour Leader, Ed Miliband, was sitting in the front row.
Labour sources said Mr Corbyn attended Mr Khan’s private victory party after the mayoral result was declared in the early hours of Saturday morning.
However, the failure of the two men to pose together for congratulatory photographs fuelled rumors of a growing divide between Labour’s leader and arguably the party’s most senior elected office-holder.
Mr Khan issued what amounted to a damning critique of Mr Corbyn leadership, warning that Labour would never win a general election without trying to “reach out” to Tory voters and businesses.
“We will never be trusted to govern unless we reach out and engage with all voters,” Mr Khan said. “Labour has to be a big tent that appeals to everyone – not just its own activists,” he said to media.
“Campaigns that deliberately turn their back on particular groups are doomed to fail. Just like in London, so-called natural Labour voters alone will never be enough to win a General Election. We must be able to persuade people who previously voted Conservative that Labour can be trusted with the economy and security as well as improving public services and creating a fairer society”, he added.
His comments are likely to be seen as a signal that Mr Khan may position himself for a run at the party leadership once his term of office in London’s City Hall comes to an end in 2020.
It came as Clive Lewis, one of Mr Cobyn’s strongest supporters in the Commons, said the election results, in which Labour lost council seats and came third behind the Tories in Scotland, showed that the Labour leadership must be ready to “compromise” and “reach out”. The MP for Norwich South, who is Mr Corbyn’s energy spokesman, said: “A narrative needs to be developed, and a strategy.”
The Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell fuelled speculation that he is plotting his own run for the leadership by apparently calling for Mr Corbyn’s enemies to mount a challenge against the leader. It is time to “put up or shut up”, Mr McDonnell told Mr Corbyn’s critics.
Courtesy: The Telegraph