Steerpike Steerpike

Tristram Hunt stands firm on Corbyn despite threat of ‘Labour purge’

Yesterday Channel 4’s Michael Crick reported that a pro-Corbyn Unite official had told him ‘careerist’ MPs will be purged from Labour if Jeremy Corbyn gets in. Among those on the list of targets for de-selection was Tristram Hunt, who would ‘make a wonderful scalp’.

Yet despite all the noise, Hunt doesn’t seem too bothered. Although his fellow New Labour comrade Chuka Umunna performed a reverse ferret earlier this week over whether he would support a Corbyn-led government, Hunt appears not to be backing down.

Writing in this week’s issue of The Spectator, the shadow education secretary says that he does not understand why a lurch to the left would lead to success at the polls:

‘I break off the family holiday to campaign for my colleague Liz Kendall in the Labour leadership election. In Ipswich and Colchester, I found party members not so smitten by Corbynmania. In both constituencies, more people voted Tory than Labour: it remains unclear to me why heading further left would appeal to them. At every leadership election since the demise of Tony Blair the party has chosen a more left-wing candidate, and while Neil Kinnock might have ‘got his party back’, the country got a Tory government back.’

Furthermore, he points out that many long-term Labour supporters have been subjected to vitriol from people who have only just joined the party:

‘What is also evident is the anger among party members who have spent years delivering leaflets and are being called ‘Tories’ for not supporting Corbyn by people who joined the party weeks ago. We are entering the era of emoji politics, where identity and emotion suffocate debate and rationality. Those of us in the Labour centre ground need desperately to understand the former, but never give up on the latter.’

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