Corbyn demands Smith withdraws “lunatic” comment

The Labour leadership contest is becoming increasingly fraught, Corbyn is dealing with “traingate” and whether he actually had to sit on the floor during a train journey from London to Newcastle.

Now Owen Smith has been criticised for referring to his rival as “some lunatic” during a rally in London.

Jeremy Corbyn has asked for Owen Smith to withdraw the comment and demanded he makes an apology to people with mental health issues.

The Labour leader has made increased support for people with mental health issues one of his major policy goals if he is elected to become the next Prime Minster.

Smith has since said that he was not actually talking about Jeremy Corbyn and was simply saying he wasn’t a lunatic himself.

Owen Smith said: “”At a hustings a few weeks ago, Jeremy Corbyn said, ‘Yes we’ve got to get some of the people who contemplated voting Tory in the past to vote Labour.’ Rubbish!

“We’ve got to get two million people who actually voted Tory, 12 months ago, to vote Labour, in 106 seats.

“And what you won’t get from me, is some, you know, lunatic at the top of the Labour Party, you’ll have someone who tries to form a coherent narrative about what’s wrong with Britain.”

This morning Smith was speaking on BBC radio and said he regretted using offensive phrases, and would use less inflammatory language in the future. Smith said: “I didn’t say that. I was saying I wasn’t a lunatic.

“Having been accused earlier in the evening of running around like a lunatic, I was saying I wasn’t a lunatic.

“But if anyone is offended by the use of that word then I do apologise. But I wasn’t talking about Jeremy, I was talking about me.”

Smith continued: “You have got to learn in this job that you need to weigh every word. I have not done that judiciously enough on occasion.”

“It suggests I am occasionally a bit colourful with my language – I need to be slightly less colourful perhaps in future.”

A spokesperson for Jeremy Corbyn said: ” Owen Smith has degraded this contest by descending into personal abuse. He should apologise to people suffering with mental illness.”

In around a month the winner of the leadership contest will be announced, the main question is what shape the Labour Party will take after the result. A split in the party might form, as most of Corbyn’s MPs do not support him, and it is unlikely they will change their minds if Corbyn is re-elected, which is still the most likely scenario.

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