SNP MP: The one UK Labour leader we would fear is Jeremy Corbyn


Corbyn a well known anti-war activist

SNP MP Angus MacNeil has said that the one candidate for the leader of the UK Labour party that the nationalists would fear if he was to get the top job is the left-winger Jeremy Corbyn, but that it is highly unlikely that he will win.

Corbyn is the most left-wing of Labour’s four leadership candidates, and has surprised many commentators by garnering serious support from within the party for his challenge.

MacNeil, speaking to Total Politics in a wide-ranging interview, was asked which candidate would give the SNP sleepless nights, and replied: “The one guy we’d feel has the most to sort that, who has got the courage and the vision is… Jeremy Corbyn. But he’s never going to get it, so we don’t fear any of them, as a result of that.

“You know, not for the SNP, for people of England to have a genuine choice, I’d like to see Jeremy Corbyn win it.”

MacNeil, who is the chair of the UK Parliament’s energy and climate change committee, added that Andy Burnham would be the “media friendly” choice, but that he expected the new Labour leader, whoever it was, to make the same mistakes as those before him or her.

“One thing you can say about Labour is if they can find a way to throw it away, they will,” he added.

Corbyn has been backed by the UK’s biggest trade union, Unite, with leader Len McCluskey saying that the union had already signed up 50,000 affiliate members who can vote in the leadership race since the candidacies were announced. The vast majority are likely to back Corbyn.

“They try and rubbish it, they try to turn it into a joke, but secretly they will be worried sick that ordinary people are suddenly given something to inspire them and something to link onto,” McCluskey said.

Corbyn, who is well known for his anti-war activism, also has the second highest number of Labour branches backing him after Andy Burnham, and would be expected to shift the party to an anti-austerity position if he became leader.

There are signs that those on the right of the party are panicking, with shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt saying “we need to make sure that people trust us with the public finances and I don’t think a Corbyn Labour Party would do that”. Labour First, an influential pressure group in the party, has urged party members to back any candidate other than Corbyn.

Labour lost all but one of its 41 seats in Scotland in May’s General Election to the SNP, who took 56 out of the 59 seats north of the border.

Picture courtesy of The Weekly Bull