I voted Owen Smith for Labour leader, says Jeremy Corbyn’s ex-wife
'Last time I voted for Jeremy out of personal loyalty, but I’ve been so saddened and really upset by some of the things…'
Jeremy Corbyn’s first wife has revealed she voted for Owen Smith in the Labour leadership contest.
Prof Jane Chapman voted for her ex-husband in last year’s contest but said she would not do so this year after the Labour leader’s first 12 months in charge.
She cited concerns over Corbyn's media performances, his ability to unify the Labour party and the lack of a vision for post-Brexit Britain in choosing to back his opponent.
“I voted for Owen Smith,” she told BBC Radio 5 Live. “Last time I voted for Jeremy out of personal loyalty, but I’ve been so saddened and really upset by some of the things… this last year that I just feel that Owen’s policies are also radical and that’s good.
“So I don’t think there’s more difference in policies. But there’s more difference in flexibility, media ability… and I think the ability to unite the party and to have a longer term post-Brexit vision. I think that’s something that’s been missing.”
When asked whether Corbyn lacked a vision for Britain post the vote to leave the EU, she replied:
“I think if he has got the vision it’s not coming across sufficiently in the public sphere, in the media coverage, put it this way. The stakes are really high at the moment, and I think the role of the PLP is going to be crucial as we know because there’s going to be a lot of work with legislation as we withdraw and it’s really important that the Labour party puts up a strong case in parliament.
“So I think that emphasis has to be on the PLP as well as the democracy and the grassroots.”
Prof Chapman worked as a Labour councillor for Haringey alongside Corbyn during the 1970s. She was married to Corbyn from 1974 to 1979.