JEREMY CORBYN has been blasted by a former Labour home secretary for the party’s disastrous start to their election campaign this week.
Lord Blunkett has revealed his “despair” at the “anti-Semitism and thuggery” that has emerged within Labour this week. He added Mr Corbyn’s chances of a majority in the December 12 poll is “extraordinarily slim”. He wrote in the Telegraph: “The behaviour of the hard-Left within the Labour Party – the anti-Semitism, the thuggery, the irrational views on security and international issues, and the lack of realisation that you have to embrace a big tent of people in order to win – certainly makes me despair.
“But it also makes the likelihood of an all-out Labour majority in this general election extraordinarily slim.
“The political landscape right now is completely different to what the hard-Left would have you believe.
“We are in a 1983 situation here, not a 2017 one – with not only the Lib Dems and the Greens, but the Brexit Party, the Tories and the SNP all seriously vying for traditional Labour votes.”
In 1983, Tory Margaret Thatcher increased her majority over Labour’s Michael Foot from 43 to 144 seats.
This was partly due to huge numbers of voters defecting from Labour to the Liberal-SDP Alliance.
Lord Blunkett added: “So the issue is not what happens if Labour wins a majority, but whether we find ourselves in a hung parliament again with Labour in opposition.”
He urges moderate Labour MPs not to quit because “there is going to be a future for Labour, and the future is worth fighting for.”
His words come after six candidates were accused this week of either making anti-Semitic comments or playing down the extent of the problem, as well as making offensive comments.
Gideon Bull, the candidate for Claction, stepped down after it emerged he had used the offensive term “Shylock” in front of a Jewish councillor.
The prospective Liverpool MP also apologised for insinuating Boris Johnson’s mother had been raped by Jimmy Saville.
Mr Corbyn, described as “unfit to lead” by four senior ex-Labour MPs also lost his deputy Tom Watson over anti-Semitism and Brexit.
A Labour Party source said: “We’ve conducted extensive due diligence checks on candidates and we have taken swift and robust action.
“In a snap general election hundreds of candidates have to be immediately selected and staff have worked incredibly hard to conduct due diligence in time.”
The group chat, called “Greggs”, was set up two weeks ago to reportedly coordinate election messaging and social media lines for the party’s campaign, according to Buzzfeed.
The introductory message in the group said: “Hi all, welcome to Greggs.
The finest of the finest. “We have a GE to win and wanted to create a space for us all to get info, updates and general support.
“From us expect — updates on JC & Shad Cab movements, lines, briefings, transcripts, invites to events and asks of support for certain content.”
Liberal Democrats leader Jo Swinson said she could “do a better job as prime minister” than Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn.
Speaking a rally at the Battersea Arts Centre in South London, Ms Swinson said: “So while I look at what is on offer from Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn, I know
I could do a better job than then as prime minister.”
She said the Lib Dems had better policies than what was on offer from “the tired two old parties led by men who want to rehash ideas from the past”.
She added: “Whether its the 1870s or the 1970s.”
The Cabinet ministers had a bet on the degree of support MPs would provide to the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal when it came before the Commons.
Mr Gove said a vote on the principle of the deal would clear the Commons by three votes, but Mr Hancock said the figure would be higher, he told Sky.
In the end, the deal secured a majority of 30 at second reading and Mr Hancock said he is now awaiting the prize – a bottle of wine – from Mr Gove.
Speaking to LBC radio, Ann Widdecombe claimed the Tories would be “daft” to continue to reject an election alliance with the Brexit Party in Labour Leave seats represented by Remain MPs.
She said: “We are running out of time. Nominations close next week. This is entirely now in Boris’ court, it’s not in Nigel’s court.
“By standing in seats, whereas I say they wouldn’t vote Tory, and if the Tories are daft enough to split the votes in those seats, well, that’s down to them.
“It’s exactly what happened in both Peterborough and Brecon. In the Peterborough by-election, we came within hundreds, just a few hundred of winning, the Tories got a few thousand votes but failed. Now if we’d had some of those thousand votes, we would have done okay, we would have won.
“And the same is true in Britain in reverse. The Tories came very close, we got a few thousand votes, but we trailed. Now, if they could have had our votes, they would have won.
“That is the sort of pact we’re talking about.”
The Prime Minister has led tributes to those who lost their lives in conflict as the three main party leaders prepare to break away from the election campaign trail to pay their respects on Remembrance Sunday.
Boris Johnson said he will be “proud” to lay his first wreath at the Cenotaph as Prime Minister, and vowed to continue to “champion those who serve today with such bravery in our military”.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn used a video message to say many serving personnel, veterans and their families are “not getting the support they deserve”.
And Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson said people should pause to reflect and remember how “fragile” peace can be.
The trio will be joined by the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford and the DUP’s Nigel Dodds in paying their respects at the Cenotaph on Sunday morning.
Mr Johnson said: “On Remembrance Sunday this year I will be thinking of the men and women who, over the centuries, have given so much to protect our country.
“I will especially remember the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice in war, so that today we can live in peace.
“I will be proud to lay my first wreath at the Cenotaph as Prime Minister.
“I am immensely grateful to those who continue to choose a life in the armed forces – without them, our country would be a less safe place to live.
“I introduced the first Office for Veteran Affairs as a sign of my commitment to those who have served, and I will continue to champion those who serve today with such bravery in our military.”
The Health Secretart said there is “absolute clarity” on the deal, despite Boris Johnson appearing to contradict earlier outlined plans when briefing Tory members in Northern Ireland.
Mr Johnson said firms could “bin” customs forms as there will be no checks or barriers on trade across the Irish Sea.
But Mr Hancock said the details would be worked out in a future EU trade deal.
Mr Corbyn was asked in Leeds about a BuzzFeed article alleging that his Labour shadow cabinet ally Dan Carden sang “Hey Jews” to The Beatles song “Hey Jude”.
He said: “Dan Carden has emphatically denied that.
“It is an awful story and if it’s true it is utterly and totally unacceptable. I am looking into it.”
Mr Corbyn was asked about comments from Lord Blunkett about the party being plagued by intolerance and division.
The Labour leader said: “I’m sorry that David Blunkett has chosen this time to say that.
“I lead a party that is huge – it’s half a million members. I lead a party that’s very determined to tackle inequality, poverty and injustice in this country.”
Mr Corbyn was asked about a letter from women Labour MPs urging the NEC to block Katie Osborne from becoming the party’s candidate in Jarrow after she is alleged to have posted an image of Theresa May with a gun.
Mr Corbyn said: “She is going through a process.
“A panel will be conducted over the weekend to select a candidate for the Jarrow constituency and, no doubt, all those questions will be put to her as any question will be put to any of the candidates.”
Rabbi Jonathan Romain has warned his congregants in Maidenhead are growing concerned about the “terrifying stench of anti-Semitism” within the opposition party.
He wrote in The Daily Mail: “There used to be a time when, after a service in my synagogue in Maidenhead, my congregants would come up and ask me seemingly trivial questions, such as whether Jews can have tattoos.
“But in recent months, their concerns have been of a more urgent, personal nature: ‘Will we be safe?’
“They are, of course, referring to the terrifying stench of anti-Semitism.”
Tory peer Sayeeda Warsi has accused Matt Hancock of “whitesplaining” over his comments that other Conservatives “take a more balanced approach” on Islamophobia than her.
Ms Warsi, the first ever Muslim woman in cabinet, tweeted: “Oh @MattHancock. Thank you for “whitesplaining” this to me.
“I’m so glad I have colleagues like you who can educate me even after my 30 years of experience of work in Race relations ”’Thousand apologies sir’”.
Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said an image a Labour candidate shared online of former prime minister Theresa May at gunpoint was “unacceptable”.
The party’s candidate for the Jarrow seat Kate Osborne shared the image on Facebook during the last general election.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Ms Rayner said: “As somebody who’s faced a level of abuse and death threats as a politician, I think a lot of people out there really don’t see the vitriol and the nastiness that’s online that’s pointed towards politicians at the moment.
“So I think it’s totally unacceptable to share images like that.”
Asked if Ms Osborne should stand down, Ms Rayner said: “It’s not a matter for me whether or not that happens, it will be the NEC (National Executive Committee) but I think we’ve all got to take responsibility for what we post online and what we say and we’ve got to lead by example.”
The Sky News host was preparing to ask the Health Secretary a question on NHS spending allocated to private companies.
But as she began the question with the proposition that “currently 7.3 percent of NHS spending goes on private providers”, Matt Hancock interrupted her with a resounding “no”.
Ms Ridge struggled to say anything for a few seconds then asked: “No? 7.3 percent of NHS spending goes on private providers in 2018/19.”
The Tory frontbencher was forced to correct her: “No. No. That doesn’t include GP surgeries, most GPs are private providers.
“It doesn’t include pharmacists, pharmacies are private businesses.
“The NHS has always provided the services through a mixed economy.
“What matters is that it is free at the point of delivery.
“So I’m against the idea that we would scrap that, I’m against the privatisation of the NHS – the idea that people should pay for it.”
The broadcaster announced on Friday that it would host a head-to-head debate between the Prime Minister and Labour leader on December 6.
It comes after Ms Swinson said her party would launch legal action if ITV does not include her in its televised leaders’ debate set to be aired on November 19.
Layla Moran, the party’s education spokeswoman and Oxford West and Abingdon candidate, said it was “critical” that the TV debates had a Remain voice.
“We are the biggest, strongest Remain party fielding candidates in all parts of the UK and actually we are the only party that can challenge Labour and the Conservatives on this,” she told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday.
“We are in discussions with lawyers about what we are going to do with the ITV debate and we are also looking at court action for the BBC one too.”
Ms Moran claimed it was “entirely possible” that Ms Swinson could be prime minister.
As their election campaign kicks off, the Conservatives have said they will fund the training of 500 more GPs in England every year.
They say this would mean 3,000 more newly-qualified GPs, or doctors doing their GP training, in surgeries by 2024.
This comes after a previous Tory pledge to hire an extra 5,000 GPs by 2020 is still not close to being met.
Meanwhile, Labour said it planned to invest in family doctor services and more GPs.
They added it has become “harder and harder to get a GP appointment under the Tories”.