Labour leadership underdog Owen Smith is ramping up his attacks on Jeremy Corbyn, with the result of the party’s leadership contest just over two weeks away.
Smith has repeatedly criticised Corbyn for being an ineffective opposition leader ever since he first announced his candidacy. However, over the past few days, his attacks on the current Labour leader have become blunt and much more frequent.
At a press conference Business Insider attended on Monday, Smith handed out mock-up Tory party 2020 election manifestos, which listed a host of hardline Conservative policies Theresa May will be able to implement with ease without the challenge of a credible opposition. These included sweeping public sector cuts, attacks on workers rights, and extended selling-off in the NHS.
“With no opposition, it is a plan that we will deliver in full,” parody May signs off. In effect, Smith was suggesting that a generation of Tory rule would be Corbyn’s fault and his alone.
The MP for Pontypridd launched three separate attacks on the current Labour leader in the space of just a few hours on Wednesday morning.
First, his team emailed BI a press release titled “Owen Smith warns the re-election of Corbyn could leave a generation without their own home” — an indictment of Corbyn’s leadership so severe it is borderline apocalyptic.
“If Jeremy continues as leader, I really fear that the Tories will be in power until at least 2025. If the Tories appalling record on housing continues, then we’ll have a shortage of 1.8 million homes by 2025; the last of our social housing will be sold off; and more than 100,000 families will be left homeless,” said Smith.
He added (emphasis ours):
“That’s what at stake in this leadership election – it’s a straight choice between protest and government, complaining about things or actually improving people’s lives. Labour will be culpable for what the Tories do if we choose the former.”
Then, in another press release published soon after, Smith said “it’s impossible for Jeremy Corbyn to speak with credibility” on environmental policy.
In the former shadow work and pensions secretary’s latest condemnation of Corbyn’s leadership, Smith addressed the Labour leader directly to criticise his most recent performance in Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs), where he came face-to-face with May for the first time.
“You moved from issue to issue with no follow-up for any of your six questions, so that the prime minister’s answers were not challenged,” Smith said.
“You didn’t even ask her about the EU, even though Brexit was and is the biggest challenge facing her government, and the reason for David Cameron’s resignation and her elevation to Downing Street.”
To take his attack one step further, he has even put together a list of “possible questions” for Corbyn to put to May during Wednesday’s instalment of PMQs. These included:
- Following her experience at the G20 summit this weekend, does the PM regret not campaigning harder for Britain to remain in the EU?
- President Obama said at the G20 that the USA’s priority would be to pursue trade deals with the EU and with Pacific countries — not to do a deal with the UK. Does the PM plan to persuade the United States to change its diplomatic priorities, and if so how?
With Smith’s odds of winning the contest as low as 8% with some bookmakers with 16 days until voting closes, it appears the challenger is unloading all the ammunition he has at is disposal, and sparing no bullets.
NOW WATCH: The only person who was right about the general election tells us what threw off all the Brexit polls
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.