Former Labour minister compares Jeremy Corbyn's botched relaunch to pants

Written by James Millar on 11 January 2017 in Diary

Jacqui Smith tells Labour's spin doctors to 'stop embarrassing the party'

Former home secretary Jacqui Smith has strongly criticised Jeremy Corbyn's well-trailed relaunch this week telling the Labour leader's press team to "stop embarrassing the party".

In a blog for moderate Labour group Progress she compared good media management to good underwear. "You do not want to wave it around but you notice if it's not there," she explained.

Corbyn has been criticised for a round of high profile appearances on Good Morning Britain and the Radio 4 Today programme in which he appeared to waver on what Labour's position is on immigration. A major speech on the issue yesterday was preceded by heavy briefing that the Labour leader would be taking a more aggressive position in 2017 and that party apparatchiks would 'let Corbyn be Corbyn'.

Smith claims the relaunch failed for three reasons. First that it was briefed in advance, drawing attention to the fact that Corbyn has struggled for profile and drawing attention to the way it was being managed rather than the policy announcements. Secondly it failed to take into account major news events like Britain's EU ambassador resigning or the Red Cross dubbing NHS failings a "humanitarian crisis". She said: "These events should have provided an open goal for a nimble party and a good media operation." Finally she accused Corbyn of lacking conviction when it came to explaining Labour's position on immigration. 

And she finished with a swipe at Corbyn's team: "We are apparently in the era of 'straight-talking, honest politics, as opposed to all that New Labour spin and media management. So, in the spirit of straight talking, let me say to the leader's well-rewared and well-staffed media team - get your arses in gear and stop embarrassing our party."


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