Jeremy Corbyn wants to “destroy” Labour and turn it into the Socialist Workers Party, a senior peer has claimed.
Labour peer Lord West said the country needs a strong opposition to counter the Conservative government, and believes Jeremy Corbyn is more interested in trying to “destroy the Labour Party and set up a new party which would be more like a Socialist Workers Party”.
Lord West also said that the Labour leader lacks the “mental capacity” for decisions on the UK’s nuclear deterrent, calling Mr. Corbyn’s defence policies “wet”.
In an interview published on Politics Home, the former First Sea Lord expressed concern over Labour’s lack of a defence policy. He said that in the wake of Brexit, the UK must look afresh at its defence arrangements with both the European Union (EU) and NATO.
The Labour peer said he believes Britain leaving the EU “definitely makes the world a more dangerous place”. He bemoaned the Ministry of Defence’s lack of a “Plan B” for Brexit, and stated that his biggest fear is that EU leaders will fail to spend money on their militaries.
Noting that the government is strongly in favour of renewing Trident, the UK’s nuclear deterrent, Lord West criticised Mr. Corbyn’s lifelong commitment to unilateral disarmament, and urged ministers to throw their weight behind the renewal of the deterrent.
The former Labour security minister said the arguments in favour of Trident are so logical that he believes Mr. Corbyn “lacks the mental capacity” to understand them. West called the Labour leader’s stance on nuclear weapons “wet”:
“It’s too easy an option isn’t it? To stand up and say ‘I hate nuclear weapons’ and everyone cheers. Everyone hates nuclear weapons. I hate nuclear weapons. That’s bloody wet, isn’t it? It’s a wet thing to say.
“It’s like saying you hate war. Everyone hates war. But that doesn’t mean it’s not there and they don’t happen. But what he’s got to do is say what is the most important thing to be certain of [is] the safety and security of the British people.”
Despite the resignation of most of his front bench, Mr. Corbyn vowed to continue as leader of the Labour party. Noting that last year he was elected leader by Labour’s membership with 60 per cent of the vote, Mr. Corbyn told his MPs: “Now is the time to come together”.
Lord West said that because “everyone says what a nice chap [Corbyn] is”, he had kept an open mind about the Labour leader. The peer said that despite this, he felt that “there’s something rather more unpleasant” in Mr. Corbyn’s character.
“I’m not even convinced now [Corbyn’s] a nice chap. I have to say, in leadership terms, I’m afraid I don’t think Joe Average in this country would follow him as a leader even out of curiosity. That’s the problem.
“Everyone says what a nice chap he is, but if he doesn’t understand that, I’m beginning to feel that maybe he’s not quite such a nice chap. That there’s something rather more unpleasant lurking there.”