Alan Johnson says he may have been wrong to write off Corbyn
‘It is just amazing how things have gone…’
Jeremy Corbyn has already had some success turning around his previously-dire opinion poll ratings. The latest Ipsos MORI poll for Evening Standard today has Labour up to 40% and Corbyn's approval ratings higher than Ed Miliband's.
Now there is evidence that the Labour leader is finally managing to get some traction with his party's big beasts as well. Or at least one of them.
Last year, former Labour cabinet minister Alan Johnson told The Times Corbyn was “totally incompetent and incapable of being the leader of a political party”. And just six weeks ago, just after Theresa May called the general election, Johnson said during an interview with The Guardian: “There is no realistic chance of us winning.”
But now Johnson has shifted his position quite dramatically and decided that “there could well be a Labour government” after all.
Speaking at the Hay literary festival in Wales, Johnson said: “It is just amazing how things have gone since that interview. Theresa May and the Conservatives committed that cardinal sin of taking the public for granted.”
He added that May had made been wrong to call the election and had compounded the mistake with her u-turn on having a cap on adult social care. And then she made matters worse by refusing to take part in the live TV debate.
“On top of the other two, suddenly we’re not in strength and stability, we’re in to weakness and instability,” he said.
Asked if he had been wrong about Corbyn, Johnson conceded that perhaps he had.
He said: “Maybe. It was always about is he capable of leading us into government? Was I wrong about that … maybe. I hope so.”
Picture by: Dominic Lipinski/PA Archive/PA Images