JOHN MCDONNELL’s team tried to take control of Labour’s campaign when it became clear the party was failing to connect with the public but they were outfought by Jeremy Corbyn’s “gangster” aides, leaked emails show.
One of The Shadow Chancellor’s aides said the party had botched the launch of its tax policies: “It wasn’t really the policy that was the problem but the confusion and sense of distrust caused by our lines being pushed/stretched too far in saying 95 percent of people will pay no more tax at all.” Another added: “I don’t want to spend another day fielding legitimate, alongside the usual illegitimate, questions about numbers I am not comfortable with and wouldn’t have put out.” A source said: “We warned Corbyn and the amateurs around him that the hostile media would pounce on any mistakes.
“But these gangsters made them anyway.”
A series of leaked emails uncovered by the Sunday Times revealed Mr McDonnell’s assertion that Labour’s campaign had created “confusion and distrust”.
The leaked correspondence unearthed serious inter-party tensions with one of the shadow chancellor’s political advisers blaming campaign staff for using “spin” to overstate Labour’s anti-austerity manifesto, while employing figures which suggested that “we are not going to be fully ending austerity”.
The intrigue involved one of Mr McDonnell’s economics advisers, who warned he was “not comfortable” about public spending promises.
He also questioned the “wisdom” of competing with the Tories on policing when Labour’s offer was exactly the same.
The email exchange took place this month with the party’s campaign flailing.
However, an ally of Jeremy Corbyn said: “McDonnell was on every call.
“He chaired them every morning.
“He was just as responsible as anyone.”
The Labour party are now embroiled in a bitter leadership battle.
With Alastair Campbell, the former communications chief to Tony Blair, who was expelled from Labour after admitting he voted for the Liberal Democrats in the European elections, among those urging people to rejoin the party.
He said members who had left under Mr Corbyn “might be helpful both in the analysis and the aftermath”.
Labour leadership contender Jess Phillips also threw her weight behind a new membership drive, tweeting: “I don’t know what is going to happen but I know we need people in this fight.
“If you are upset with the result or if you are upset with the party you need to join.
“Labour members have actual power.
“You can change this.”
Behind the scenes, Labour moderates have begun the fightback after the party’s hammering in the polls as they seek the reverse the influx of left-wingers following rule changes introduced by Ed Miliband.
A former Labour MP said: “There is a massive effort to get Labour moderates to join and rejoin.
“They think the magic number is 100,000 to elect a moderate leader and are launching a massive online drive to attract the required support.”
And Jenny Chapman, the former shadow Brexit minister, has warned that if the party was not quick to reconnect with voters who had deserted them for the first time, it could “very well be the end of the Labour movement”.
The election saw Labour swept aside by the Conservatives in its heartlands in the Midlands and north east England, with Mr Corbyn’s party securing the fewest number of seats since 1935.