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Blairites’ Soft Coup Plot Uncovered

McDonnell: Murdoch-backed opposition moves into shadows

PLOTTERS seeking to oust Jeremy Corbyn are involved in a sneaky “dark arts” operation to get rid of him without sparking another Labour Party rebellion, shadow chancellor John McDonnell has charged.

Mr McDonnell said some Labour MPs in alliance with the Murdochowned media are hell-bent on “destroying” Mr Corbyn’s leadership to reclaim the party for capitalists.

He accused the “covert coup plotters” of wanting to undermine Mr Corbyn through “an exceptionally wellresourced ‘dark arts’ operation of the old spin school” in an article posted on the Labour Briefing website on Sunday.

He said the unnamed plotters were so determined to get rid of him that they were prepared to jeopardise their own seats and endanger the very existence of the party.

The warning comes after former Labour spin doctor Peter “the Prince of Darkness” Mandelson claimed last week that he was working “every single day” to drag Mr Corbyn down.

After last year’s failed coup attempt fronted by stool pigeon Owen Smith, the plotters realised a direct attack on Mr Corbyn would provoke an angry backlash from grassroots supporters, Mr McDonnell said.

They are destabilising the elected leader with “constant behind-thescenes non-attributable briefings” to “chip away at Jeremy’s standing” every time anyone in the shadow cabinet made media statements or appeared in Parliament.

The “constant barrage of negative briefings also crowds out any positive initiatives or narrative from Jeremy and his team,” Mr McDonnell said, ramming home their narrative that the Labour Party is split.

He said these tactics led to “fake news” stories in the Times and the Sun claiming Mr Corbyn was about to stand down as leader — which were then perpetuated by copycat media outlets.

And civil servants’ leader Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the non-Labour affiliated PCS union, threw his weight yesterday behind Mr Corbyn.

“Many of those criticising the current Labour leadership were either complicit or silent when public-sector pay and jobs were being slashed,” he pointed out.

“We have long argued for a genuine alternative to the Tories’ obsession with cuts, for the kind of policies Labour is developing under Jeremy Corbyn, and we continue to believe this is in the best interests of those we represent and the communities they live in.”

A spokesman for Mr McDonnell said the article had been written and published in print last week in response to Tony Blair’s attack on Labour over Brexit, but that it only appeared online on Sunday night.

Asked about Mr McDonnell’s claims of a soft coup, Mr Corbyn has insisted he is “very happy” and that Labour is moving forward with policies and campaigns.

He said Labour would “learn the lessons” of last week’s by-election defeat in Copeland.

Labour lost the seat to the Tories but fended off a challenge from Ukip leader and serial fantasist Paul Nuttall in Stoke.

Labour is expected to face three more by-election challenges in relatively safe seats in the coming months.

Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram are planning to leave Parliament to take on the Manchester and Liverpool mayoralties, while Gerald Kaufman’s death on Sunday will trigger a by-election for Manchester Gorton.

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