'Extraordinary' Labour MP blasted as she denies supporting Jeremy Corbyn ahead of election

3 min


The Labour MP claimed she never even nominated Jeremy Corbyn ahead of his leadership election and that she was now backing Sir Keir Starmer as his replacement. She told BBC Any Questions?: “I think everyone here knows that I didn’t nominate Jeremy. I nominated this week Keir Starmer and I was very proud to. I was extremely proud to, and I was proud to because I want to nominate the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

“And I wanted to nominate someone who is going to take us to win the general election next time around.”

But the Labour MP was immediately confronted by Tory Johnny Mercer who reminded her of a pre-election speech she gave in Birmingham backing the outgoing Labour leader.

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He said: “That’s interesting because actually, just before the general election, I saw you giving a rousing speech in support of Jeremy up in Bristol.

“And how a Labour Government was needed and Jeremy Corbyn should be Prime Minister.”

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Labour MP Thangam Debbonaire denies supporting Corbyn in clash with Johnny Mercer (Image: ITV•INSTITUTE OF ART AND IDEAS)

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Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn will be replaced in April (Image: GETTY)

In an attempt to defend herself, Ms Debbonaire claimed she never said what Mr Mercer was claiming, accusing him of “misquoting” her completely.

But the Tory MP blasted: “That’s extraordinary! Then you were campaigning for a Labour Government that wouldn’t see Jeremy Corbyn in power?”

The Labour MP replied: “No, not a word. For a Labour Government, yes, but I didn’t say a word about Jeremy.”

Echoing Mr Mercer’s surprise, BBC host Chris Mason said: “Hang on a minute… He was your leader!”

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To which Mr Mercer added: “It follows on, doesn’t it? It’s quite interesting to see people running away at the speed of knots from Jeremy Corbyn having tried to elect him only four weeks ago.“

It comes as the race to replace Jeremy Corbyn after the disastrous result for the party at the general election kicked off this month.

Sir Keir Starmer, the current frontrunner in the race, will launch his leadership campaign in Manchester today.

At a launch event in Manchester on Saturday, the shadow Brexit secretary will say the party must retain its radicalism while making it relevant to people’s everyday lives.

The shadow Brexit secretary vowed personally to take charge of the fight to stamp out anti-Semitism in the Labour Party if he wins the race to succeed Jeremy Corbyn.

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Labour leadership candidate Sir Keir Starmer will launch his campaign in Manchester (Image: GETTY)

He said the party had not done enough to tackle the issue which bedevilled it under Mr Corbyn.

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“We should have done more on anti-Semitism. If you are anti-Semitic you shouldn’t be in the Labour Party,” he told BBC1’s Breakfast programme.

“What I would do is lead from the top and say it’s my responsibility to deal with it. I wouldn’t say it’s for somebody else. I want the files, I want to know the numbers on my desk so that I can monitor this.

“Only when people who have left our party because of anti-Semitism feel that they can return will I be truly satisfied that we have dealt with the problem.

“But there has to be leadership from the top and a personal involvement in this. “I never want our activists, our members, our supporters, ever to knock on a door again and to be met with the response: ‘I usually vote Labour but I’m not going to do so because of anti-Semitism.”‘

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