Jeremy Corbyn’s spin doctor was a candidate for the far-left Maoist Party in school elections in the 1970s, a Tory former schoolmate has revealed.
Seumas Milne, the Labour leader's communications chief, stood on a Communist ticket during a mock election at the private Winchester College in 1974, John Whittingdale, now the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, has told journalists.
The minister, who ran against the Guardian journalist-turned-adviser in the school ballot, went on to brandish an austere poster used during the campaign that backed the principles of the former China dictator.
John Whittingdale with his Seumus Milne "vote Maoist" poster at Lobby lunch. Always bring a story, they say pic.twitter.com/wHTHPeV2iS— Graeme Demianyk (@GraemeDemianyk) March 8, 2016
Milne, 56, is seen as an increasingly influential figure at the upper echelons of the Labour Party, which is facing discontent from its own MPs over its lurch to the left under Corbyn.
Whittingdale went on to read out to hacks extracts from the Milne-penned manifesto.
He said: “Under a Maoist government factories and farms will be run by committees of workers elected by the workers (as in China where this has worked well).
“If a Maoist government was elected, foreign debts would be renounced as they were after the Russian revolution - and we would withdraw from Nato and the EEC.
“Military spending would be cut and all troops would be recalled.”
After last year’s spending review, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell confronted George Osborne with a copy of Chairman Mao’s infamous Little Red Book in an attempt to belittle the Chancellor that many think back-fired.
Whittingdale says while the Maoist Party was “not wholly successful” in the school election, he added: “We now know where John McDonnell got the Little Red Book.”