John McTernan: Labour conference like a 'throwback to the 1980s'

The Labour conference is underway in Brighton

Monday, September 23, 2019

A former adviser to Tony Blair has said this autumn’s Labour conference has been one of the “most disastrous and badly managed conferences” that he has ever been to.

John McTernan told talkRADIO’s Mike Graham: “It feels like a throwback to the 1980s, not just in the politics, but in the appallingly old-fashioned organisation.”

His comments come after Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson escaped an attempt to oust him at the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting.

The motion to abolish the role of deputy leader entirely was tabled by Jon Lansman, the founder of Jeremy Corbyn-supporting group Momentum.

Mr McTernan said “If you’re going to assassinate the deputy leader you better be sure that you actually kill him rather than turn him into a hero.”

The bid was abandoned following an intervention from the party leader.

Mr Corbyn claimed he did not know the motion would be tabled and said he gets on “absolutely fine” with Mr Watson.

But Mr McTernan said that the meeting did see through a move to change the role of the deputy leader.

He said: “The deputy leader will now not automatically become the leader when the leader iss unavailable – it will now be appointed by the NEC which is of course Momentum controlled, Corbyn controlled.”

Mr McTernan also questioned the Labour leader’s commitment to becoming Prime Minister, saying that Mr Corbyn “really doesn’t enjoy being a leader, he enjoys the adoration rather than the actual actions”.

Read more

Labour conference: Corbyn faces showdown over Brexit policy

Jeremy Corbyn 'daunted' at prospect of becoming PM