John McDonnell called Alastair Campbell a “fucking arsehole” after their clash on BBC Question Time, it has been alleged.
The Shadow Chancellor and Tony Blair’s former spin doctor had a furious row on the programme with each accusing the other of destroying Labour’s chances of winning elections and nearly “coming to blows” backstage after the show was taped.
The Sun is now reporting McDonnell shouted the words at Campbell during the bust-up in Salisbury on Thursday night, citing multiple witnesses.
McDonnell was reportedly hitting back after Campbell told him: “You and your lot are going to ruin the Labour Party.”
Campbell’s daughter, Grace, had to intervene to calm things down, according to The Sun.
One source told the paper: “It was very, very heated, nobody knew where to look.”
As details of the alleged run-in emerged, a spokesperson for McDonnell denied the claims that there was a further altercation after the programme.
The argument followed a confrontational edition of the show in which Tory MP Anna Soubry called McDonnell a “nasty piece of work”.
During the show, McDonnell called Campbell “nauseating” as he described the rise of Corbyn as a “disaster” for Labour.
Interrupting, McDonnell said: “It’s nauseating because you are the one, above all else, who actually created the environment where no one believed a word a politician said.
Campbell shook his head in disbelief and said: “Look John, I’ve come on here tonight to be as nice to you as I possibly can.”
McDonnell said “the feeling’s mutual” while Campbell continued: “I care about the Labour Party. I worry that you and yours are destroying it. I actually think you don’t even care.”
After the show on Thursday, Campbell later tweeted he hoped Corbyn was “more sincere” about re-uniting a divided Labour party than McDonnell was.
“This is a man who hates anyone who helped Labour win,” Campbell said.