Ed Miliband today gave his full-throated backing to Owen Smith’s campaign to be Labour leader in a direct appeal to party members.
In a new video released this afternoon, the former Labour leader urged members to chose Smith for “his vision, his principles and for his ability to lead.”
He also claims the Pontypridd MP can unite Labour after its recent bitter infighting.
Miliband said: “I want a Labour leader who can unite our party and make us a serious alternative Government, and I want a Labour leader who will reach out to every part of Britain and can do what Labour has done in the past which is out of this crisis make it a progressive moment.
“That’s why my choice for Labour leader is Owen Smith. I got to know Owen as a colleague and as a friend. He would always urge me as leader to go further and be bolder.”
Miliband’s intervention comes as current leader Jeremy Corbyn engages in war of words with party deputy Tom Watson.
In an interview with The Guardian today, Watson claimed “some old hands [are] twisting young arms” in the Labour leadership election as he warned of “Trotsky entryists” infiltrating the party.
A spokesman for Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership campaign hit back, claiming Watson was using the tactics of “Project Fear”.
They added: “Rather than patronising members and peddling baseless conspiracy theories about “Trotsky entryists”, he should be working with Jeremy to unite our party so that we can get back to campaigning to dislodge this Tory government, and help elect a Labour government in its place.”