Labour’s arch-Blairite, the MP for Barrow and Furness John Woodcock, has never made any secret of his dislike of Jeremy Corbyn. But today in the House of Commons, just weeks before a massive round of local elections when the public will be closely monitoring party unity, the supposed ‘Labour’ MP took his personal vendetta against the Labour leader to a new and utterly ridiculous levels.
Eliciting memories of Hilary Benn’s infamous warmongering speech in favour of bombing Syria in 2015 which drew rapturous war-cries from the Tory benches opposite, Woodcock chose today to undermine his twice-elected leader in similarly brazen fashion.
Jeremy Corbyn initially had the floor and was defending his record in calling out Russia’s catalogue of abuses, saying that he had been “a robust critic of the actions of the Russian government for more than 20 years”, backing up his claim by stating that:
“I was opposing the abuse that was going on in Chechnya by Russian forces, the manipulation of elections, and the oppression of LGBT rights, and the dodgy laundering of Russian oligarchs through London.”
At which point the arch-Blairite Labour MP Woodcock – notably sat all by himself on the Labour back benches – intervened to brazenly undermine his own party in order to help the Tories, by arguing that:
“I was not intending to intervene in this, but I cannot actually let that remark go by.
I’ve sat here reading his article in the Morning Star after Russia annexed part of Ukraine, where the strongest criticism he makes there is, ‘On Ukraine, I would not condone Russian behaviour or expansion, but it is not unprovoked.’
And then into the usual criticism of the US and Nato and UK policy. It’s just not true.”
Accusations against Corbyn which, unsurprisingly, elicited cries of ‘more’ from the Tory benches opposite.
Back in 2000, Jeremy Corbyn actually led a protest against Russian crimes in Chechnya, but Woodcock seems to have conveniently forgotten about this.
And Corbyn’s wider record on calling out Russia certainly shows that it’s definitely not the Labour leader who’s telling lies here:
Today, an MP called Jeremy Corbyn a liar in parliament when Jeremy said he had criticised Russia in the past. Here is proof Jeremy was being truthful.
— Tory Fibs (@ToryFibs) March 26, 2018
Corbyn simply responded to Woodcock’s ridiculous remarks by sarcastically saying:
“I thank my honourable friend for his usual helpful intervention. Thank you very much.”
However, ardent pro-Corbyn MP Chris Williamson wasn’t having any of Woodcock’s brazenly anti-Labour antics, turning round to confront the Blairite MP, and, according to The S*n’s Harry Cole, Williamson even appeared to ‘order him [Woodcock] to sit on the Tory benches’.
You can watch the extraordinary exchange and Williamson’s reaction to Woodcock’s disgraceful anti-Corbyn remarks below: