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UK: Gordon Brown: Labour must be ‘credible once more’

17th Aug 2015
UK: Gordon Brown: Labour must be ‘credible once more’

LONDON (AA): Former British prime minister Gordon Brown finally intervened in the Labour Party’s leadership contest on Sunday, saying the four-way fight need not be “an abandonment of principles to seek power”.

Brown’s highly anticipated comments are being viewed as critical of Jeremy Corbyn, the veteran left-wing MP who is being tipped to win the party’s leadership battle.

“The best way of realizing our high ideals is to show that we have an alternative in government that is credible, that is radical, and is electable – is neither a pale imitation of what the Tories offer nor is it the route to being a party of permanent protest, rather than a party of government,” Brown said in a meeting with Labour supporters in central London.

Brown is the latest high-profile Labour figure to warn the party faithful against voting for the frontrunner, but without openly supporting any of the other three candidates or spelling out Corbyn’s name.

“Don’t tell me that we can do much for the poor of the world if the alliances we favor most are with Hezbollah, Hamas, Chavez’s successor in Venezuela and Putin’s totalitarian Russia,” Brown said.

The former PM’s intervention comes as polling suggests Corbyn, a long-time backbench MP for Islington North in London, could upset initial expectations and become the leader of Britain’s official opposition.

Brown also told party supporters that Labour has been “grieving” following its crushing defeat in May’s general election and must become credible once more if it is to regain power.

Last week, another former Labour prime minister – Tony Blair – explicitly slammed Corbyn’s campaign in an article for the left-leaning Guardian newspaper. He argued that Labour was “in danger more mortal today than any point in the past 100 years of its existence”, as the leadership race between four candidates enters its final phase.

“If Jeremy Corbyn becomes leader…it will mean rout, possibly annihilation,” Blair wrote.

More than 600,000 supporters will vote for the center-left party’s new leader to succeed Ed Miliband, who resigned after leading Labour to its worst electoral performance in decades during the U.K.’s May general election.

Labour now has its lowest number of MPs since 1987.

Party supporters started casting their votes on Friday, 14 August. The final result will be revealed on 12 September.

Four candidates are competing for leadership: Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Jeremy Corbyn, and Liz Kendall.

Author: Ahmet Gürhan Kartal
[Photo: Gordon Brown, the former UK prime minister and current head of the World Economic Forum’s infrastructure initiative, delivers a speech on the third day of the 25th World Economic Forum meeting held under the theme “Then and Now: Reimagining Africa’s Future” in Cape Town, South Africa on June 5, 2015. Photographer: Ashraf Hendricks/Anadolu Agency]

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