Jeremy Corbyn publicly backed a controversial top policy aide on Saturday, despite the advisor receiving a recent suspension over complaints he campaigned for a rival party during the general election. The Labour leader said he has "full confidence" in Andrew Fisher, despite the party's ruling National Executive Committee possibly looking into disciplinary procedures.
However, Corbyn’s support was denounced by former Parliamentary Labour Party chair Lord Soley, who told BBC Radio 4 Today that Labour leader was helping the Conservative Party. "We don't want people who have been slagging off Labour candidates and telling them not to vote Labour," he said."What I am angry about is we are betraying the very people who voted Labour in the hope they would get a Labour government. Going on like this, we will continue to keep the Conservatives in power."
“This is very similar to the position the Tories got themselves into when they had Iain Duncan Smith as leader and we actually did all we could to keep him there,” he added. “The Tories are doing exactly the same with Jeremy now."
On Saturday, Ken Livingstone rejected the accusations directed at Fisher, calling them "complete nonsense." The former London mayor said: "The MPs who have taken this up and the people driving this aren't really terribly concerned with this one individual, they are trying to undermine the leader who has just been elected and that's completely unacceptable."
"If you are one of those New Labour MPs who thinks that the Blair government was the apex of human civilisation you have got to come to terms with the fact that the party has moved on," he added.
Fisher is accused of telling supporters to vote for a Class War candidate against Labour's Emily Benn in the Croydon South seat at May's vote. Benn launched a formal complaint against Fisher after he tweeted in August last year, "FFS if you live in Croydon South, vote with dignity, vote @campaignbeard." The tweet referred to the Class War parliamentary candidate Jon Bigger.
According to Labour rules, a member cannot support a non-Labour candidate and remain a member. Fisher has since apologised for the tweet.