Diane Abbott has accused Labour MPs of sabotaging Jeremy Corbyn’s performance against Theresa May during prime minister’s questions yesterday, accusing them of “sulking” and not cheering loud enough.
The shadow health secretary also this morning tore into Owen Smith, who is challenging Corbyn for the leadership, for having been a “lobbyist” and compared him to David Cameron.
May was widely seen to have easily won her first outing at PMQs on Wednesday - in which she mocked and taunted Corbyn over the divisions on the Labour benches.
In an interview with The Guardian, Smith said he was “furious” with Corbyn’s performance against the new prime minister.
But speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Abbott said the fault lay with Smith and his fellow MPs. “When Theresa May came in she got huge cheers for Tory benches, when Jeremy came in there was silence,” she said.
“One of the problems with PMQs is the way Labour MPs behave and if Owen Smith wants Jeremy to score over Theresa May in PMQs, he needs to talk to his colleagues.
“They refuse to cheer, they sit on their hands, they sulk, they chat amongst themselves.”
Corbyn will this morning formally launch his leadership campaign as he attempts to fight off the challenge from Smith and the bulk of Labour MPs who want rid of him.