An ally of Jeremy Corbyn has linked the failed coup in Turkey to Labour MPs’ efforts to oust the party leader.
Labour’s election co-ordinator Jon Trickett was forced to apologise and withdraw a tweet in which he wrote: “Coup organised by a small group against elected leader fails because of lack of rank and file support.”
The vast majority of the parliamentary Labour Party is engaged in a battle to replace Mr Corbyn after most of his shadow cabinet resigned and 172 MPs backed a no confidence motion in the party leader following the EU referendum.
But with Corbyn securing a place in the new leadership contest without needing to gain MPs’ nominations, his support among rank and file party members could see him remain in position.
After Labour MPs criticised Trickett’s post, he said: “Okay okay. Tweet deleted and withdrawn. Shouldn’t tweet when feeling (ill). I apologise sincerely”.
Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP Neil Coyle tweeted: “Deeply insensitive. Death toll in Turkey is about 90 with over 1,000 injured according to BBC. My constituents affected.”
Whip Conor McGinn said: “Have some sense of decency Jon. Dozens were killed overnight in Turkey. Not something to joke or point-score about.”
Former shadow cabinet member Michael Dugher tweeted: “As death toll rises to 90, I’m sure @jon-trickett will reflect & realise this comparison is not clever & not funny.”
Trickett’s comments came as leadership candidate Angela Eagle warned that Labour risks becoming the “new nasty party”.
Eagle borrowed Theresa May’s famous 2002 description of the Conservatives as she called for action from the Labour leadership on “abuse, misogyny, homophobia (and) anti-Semitism” affecting the party.
Her call came shortly after Labour’s National Executive Committee suspended all local party meetings amid reports of intimidation, bullying and threatening behaviour, and just days after a brick was thrown through her own constituency office window in Wallasey on Merseyside.
The party has suspended its constituency party in Brighton and Hove and annulled the results of a recent election following accusations of abusive behaviour, an improper ballot and entryism by far-left activists.
Turning Jeremy Corbyn’s “kinder politics” catchphrase against him, Eagle said that Labour needed “a kinder politics in reality” and must not end up “in the gutter”.
The former shadow business secretary, who quit the shadow cabinet to launch her challenge to Corbyn, asked party members at a social event in Wolverhampton: “What attracted you to the Labour Party in the first place? I’m guessing it didn’t involve abuse, misogyny, homophobia, anti-Semitism and the opportunity to picket Labour events
“The Labour Party can’t become the new nasty party for women, or indeed for anyone else.
It’s a place where everyone should play a part.
We need a kinder politics in reality, which is why I’ve called on the leadership to not just call out such behaviour but to take action too.
Her comments came as her rival challenger for the Labour leadership, Owen Smith, won the backing of one of Corbyn’s most loyal MPs.
Cardiff Central MP Jo Stevens was one of 40 MPs who refused to back the no confidence motion in Corbyn.
But she has now told supporters she will back Smith in the leadership contest.
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