POLITICS
22/09/2015 06:51 BST | Updated 22/09/2015 06:59 BST

Jeremy Corbyn Victory Shows Labour's 'Delight In Losing', Claims Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi

Italian Premier Matteo Renzi
Luca Bruno/AP
Italian Premier Matteo Renzi

Italy’s centre-left Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has launched an extraordinary attack on Jeremy Corbyn, claiming it shows Labour's “delight in losing”.

Mr Renzi, dubbed Italy’s ‘Tony Blair’ by political commentators, compared Labour to the Washington Generals, the basketball team which closed down after losing more than 13,000 times to the Harlem Globetrotters.

The former Mayor of Florence, who has been Italian PM since February 2014, made the comments in a speech to members of his Democratic Party.

It is highly unusual for politicians to launch such strong attacks against their foreign peers, especially when they are ostensibly on the same side of the political divide.

Mr Renzi said: “It’s not a question of being Blairite or anti-Blairite, it’s a matter of understanding whether you want to go to elections like you go to the Olympics, to win, or to participate.

He added: "The Labour party remains the only party that likes losing after the demise of the Washington Generals."

Mr Renzi’s remarks come after a long dispute with Italy’s trade unions over employment law reforms.

Last December a general strike was called in response to changes that would free up mobility of labour in the European country.

Unions feared it would make it easier for companies to dismiss workers.

Whereas Mr Renzi has clashed with unions, Mr Corbyn has the support of many of the UK’s organised labour groups.

Last week, the Italian Prime Minister aimed a kick at Mr Corbyn’s predecessor, and said: “The last one called ‘Red’ was Ed Miliband, who took a mighty slap in the face from Cameron.”

Referring to Mr Corbyn’s foreign policy added: “I don’t think people who want to get out of Nato want to win elections.”

Mr Renzi is also looking to push forward with significant constitutional changes that would give the ruling party dominance in the Italian legislature.

The current system, which operates under proportional representation, tends to produce political stalemates.

Mr Renzi has emerged as one of David Cameron’s strongest allies in the European Union since he became the Italian leader.

Earlier this year he claimed an EU without the UK would be “impossible”.

In June, he backed Mr Cameron’s call for renegotiation of the way the EU operates, reportedly telling a dinner attended by European leaders: “David’s fight against the rule of [EU] bureaucracy is also our fight, our goal, our commitment.”

Yesterday, Mr Renzi said: “I think Cameron is the happiest of all about Corbyn’s win.”