Jeremy Corbyn calls for ‘end to trench warfare’… and key enemy signals retreat
It could be the first time that John Woodcock has ever praised the leader.
After Jeremy Corbyn used his Labour conference speech to call for “an end the trench warfare”, there were indications that his biggest critic in the Commons is finally suspending hostilities.
Earlier this year, John Woodcock branded Corbyn a “fucking disaster” and expressed concern that the leader was turning the party in to a “laughing stock”.
He also argued that Labour supporters were being "appallingly served by a leadership team who cannot even get its act together".
But at this year’s Labour conference, Woodcock avoided putting the boot into the Labour leader – and he was uncharacteristically generous in his response to Corbyn's keynote speech. He tweeted:
“A well-delivered speech from Jeremy with a firm direction. Let's all do what we can to help tackle the 'electoral mountain' he identifies.”
The Labour leader had declared that: “It’s true there's an electoral mountain to climb. But if we focus everything on the needs and aspirations of middle and lower income voters, of ordinary families, if we demonstrate we've got a viable alternative to the government's failed economic policies, I'm convinced we can build the electoral support that can beat the Tories."
Corbyn said also that Labour could only win the next election “if we accept the decision of the members, end the trench warfare and work together to take on the Tories”.
A few days earlier, Woodcock had suggested that all Labour MPs who supported Owen Smith for leader should now behave themselves.
"It may be seen as something of an understatement to say that this was not the result for which I had hoped,” he said as the conference was getting under way.
"I have not changed my views on the kind of leader and the approach that communities like Barrow and Furness need, but it is now up to all of us to make the best of this situation.”
But at least one Corbyn ally is not convinced by such pronouncements.
Shortly after the leader’s speech, Diane Abbott was asked if peace had broken out in the Labour party, She replied: “I wouldn’t go as far as to say that.”
Picture by: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/Press Association Images