Chris Mullin: 'Corbyn is not leadership material'

Jeremy Corbyn.
Jeremy Corbyn.
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The Labour Party’s current travails are no surprise to a man who has spent half a century as a member.

Chris Mullin is confident the party will survive the current row over Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

“The situation at the moment is not very good, but those of us who have been members for a long time – and I’ve been a member for 50 years – we all know the Labour Party has been through various ups and downs in its long life and eventually comes out of the other end.”

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Although he admires Corbyn, Mullin does not believe he is the right choice for the party’s top job.

“I’m not a Corbynista, no,” he says.

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“I like Jeremy Corbyn, I respect him, he is a very decent human being – but he is not leadership material.

“But if he wins again, as he is expected to, then I think those who oppose him need to settle down, not make mischief and make the best of it because what is really damaging is disunity.

“People, on the whole, don’t care whether you are left or right, but if you are fighting each other, they do care about that.”

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The UK is not naturally radical, he says: “Britain is a small ‘C’ conservative country. I remember one of my former colleagues, who comes from a very modest background, although he’s now in the House of Lords, saying to me ‘What you have got to realise, Chris, is that on patriotism, on race, on nuclear weapons, the working class are really very conservative – it’s just that they happen to vote Labour.’

“When you think about it, that’s quite a bizarre statement which, for many young and idealist people who are active in politics, it often takes a while to grasp that rather simple truth.”