Leaked Tape: Corbyn a Security Risk, Says Labour Shadow Minister

Opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn takes part in a press conference in London on December 6, 2019. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)
BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images

Leaked audio has revealed Labour Party’s shadow health minister saying that the Number 10 “machine” would “safeguard security” against risks posed by the far-left Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. The shadow minister also said that under Corbyn, Labour’s election chances are in a “dire” situation outside London.

Labour MP Jonathan Ashworth has admitted to the veracity of a leaked audiotape in which he is recorded slamming his party’s 70-year-old socialist leader as a security risk, and noting the “dire” electoral outlook for Thursday’s vote.

The tape was recorded by a conservative friend of Mr Ashworth, who asked the shadow minister if Corbyn were to be elected, “would he be as bad as I suspect?”

“I don’t know, on the security stuff; I worked in No.10, I think the machine will pretty quickly move to safeguard security — I mean the Civil Service machine… But it’s not going to happen! I cannot see it happening, not the way things are happening” replied Ashworth in a tape released to British political blog Guido Fawkes.

The shadow health minister also bemoaned the Labour Party’s electoral chances outside of London, saying that under Corbyn the situation is “dire” for Labour.

“I’ve been going round these national places, it’s dire for Labour… it’s dire… it’s awful for them, and it’s the combination of Corbyn and Brexit….outside of the city seats… it’s abysmal out there… they can’t stand Corbyn and they think Labour’s blocked Brexit. I think middle-class graduates – remainy people – Labour’s doing well among… but not in big enough numbers to deny the Tories a majority,” Ashworth said.

“It wouldn’t surprise me – for [the] sake of argument – we held Canterbury because of sort of middle-class, Guardian-reading people, but then the Tories take Bolsover off of Labour it wouldn’t surprise me. The electoral map has been going topsy-turvey because of Brexit and Corbyn,” he added.

Asked by his friend if there is any way of stopping the far-left Labour leader, Ashworth said: “No because we fucked it up; we fucked it up in 2016 when we went too early. People like me were internally saying ‘this isn’t the right moment’ but I got kind of ignored. But I don’t think we’re going to get there; in Mansfield, in Ashfield, it’s dire for the Labour Party up there, these traditional working areas.”

In response to the leaked audio, Jonathan Ashworth said that the conversation was just “a bit of joshing”.

Mr Ashworth denied believing what he is recorded saying and pronounced that he will no longer have drinks with the friend who leaked the tape.

“If you leak it to Guido Fawkes, it makes me look like a right plonker,” he said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacted to the scandal, writing: “Jonathan Ashworth is saying what hundreds of Labour candidates and millions of voters are thinking. Jeremy Corbyn is unfit to be PM because he is blocking Brexit.”

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