Owen Smith has accused Jeremy Corbyn of misleading people when he said he does not use “bad language” against individuals.
Smith and Corbyn took part in an often bad tempered Labour leadership debate on Thursday evening. During the head-to-head, Smith acknowledged he had apologised for using the word “lunatic”,
The audience laughed when he said “there is no room for personal abuse in politics.”
But Smith hit back and Corbyn’s supporters in the room: “I don’t know why you’re laughing, Jeremy has been pretty fruity with his language.”
“Jeremy Corbyn called a Tory MP a lunatic in 1992. He used the word again in parliament in 1993,” Smith said.
Corbyn had told Smith: “Owen you’ll never find me using bad language on individuals.”
In a 1993 parliamentary debate about aslyum seekers, Corbyn said:
I mentioned political activities in the United Kingdom. The hon. Member for Northampton, North (Antony Marlow) and others represent a rather curious lunatic element in the Conservative party.
Earlier this week, Smith was accused of suggesting Corbyn was a “lunatic” leader of the party.
He told a campaign rally in west London: “What you won’t have from me is some lunatic at the top the Labour Party.”
After criticism from Corbyn’s leadership re-election campaign team for the “offensive language”, Smith gave an unreserved apology to those who took issue with the comment that invoked mental illness.
He also vowed to be “slightly less colourful” with his language after a series of off-worded comments.