Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of trying to bully a Labour MP into submission by threatening to call his father to resolve a row.
Conor McGinn, an opposition whip, accused his leader of contemplating taking the drastic measure after he suggested in an interview that Corbyn should engage more with working class voters outside his London constituency.
The St Helens North MP added he could “no longer tolerate” Corbyn’s “hypocrisy” and was only now revealing the exchange that happened in May to highlight the duplicity of his leader’s much touted “kinder, gentler politics”.
McGinn made the allegations in a storming string of tweets, addressing the first to Corbyn directly.
The original interview, published in The House magazine, had been a wide-ranging profile piece in which McGinn only once mentioned Corbyn.
McGinn, who used to live in Corbyn’s constituency, said: “I love London, and it’s a fantastic city, and Islington is a great place, but it’s not like the rest of the country. Being the MP for St Helens has simply reinforced that for me.
“I think the challenge for Jeremy having been an MP for 30-odd years for a seat like Islington, is how he relates to the rest of the country.”
But today McGinn revealed that in response to that quote Corbyn had first demanded his resignation then considered sacking him.
McGinn refused the eventual request to apologise and retract the comments.
It later transpired, he claimed, that Corbyn had contemplated calling his father - a Sinn Féin councillor - to ask him to speak to his son about the affair.
Speaking to PoliticsHome about the row, McGinn revealed:
Jeremy does not know my father so I can only presume that because of the much-publicised fact that my father was a Sinn Féin councillor, Jeremy felt that they would share a political affinity and was proposing to use that to ask my father to apply pressure on me Connor McGinn
He began the outburst when Corbyn appeared on Thursday’s episode of Newsnight.
McGinn claimed in response to his leader advocating a “kinder, gentler politics” that Corbyn was “a hypocrite who tried to bully me by using my family against me”.
He added in a final tweet that, despite having known him for over a decade, he could no longer tolerate Corbyn’s alleged deceit.
The outburst came after several other Labour MPs also spoke out about Corbyn’s behaviour in recent months.
Lilian Greenwood, who resigned as Shadow Transport Secretary last month, revealed how longstanding policy announcements were scuppered, decisions were made without discussion and concerns were ignored by Corbyn and his team.
In a speech to her Nottingham South constituency activists that she later published online, Greenwood admitted that even though she had not backed Corbyn for leader last year she “tried to make it work” for the nine months she served under him.
She added that it was “impossible” to do her job because Corbyn is “not a team player let alone a team leader.”
It came just days after another Labour MP, Thangam Debbonaire, revealed she had been both appointed to and sacked from Corbyn’s Shadow Government without her knowledge while she was undergoing cancer treatment.
Asked on Sky News about McGinn’s claims Corbyn responded: “I wish some of my colleagues would concentrate on political issues.
“I regret the language that has been used by all of them. I don’t do any abuse, I don’t do any bullying, I don’t allow it to be done in any of my campaigning teams.
“And I’m very surprised and actually very disappointed that they should say that because politics has to be about bringing people in and I think we have done that spectacularly well.
“We are now the largest membership we have ever had. That’s good. It’s not a threat it’s a good thing that people come together and want to debate and be active in politics and our society. Isn’t that good for democracy?”
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