Gordon Brown has thrown his weight behind Jeremy Corbyn, calling him a “phenomenon” who had set out a vision for a fairer society.
The former Prime Minister said Corbyn - who as a backbench MP repeatedly rebelled against the New Labour governments 500 times - had articulated public anger which has gathered since the financial crash.
Speaking on the Radio 4 Today programme, Brown said Corbyn had restored people’s faith in the Labour Party’s principles. He then refused three times to withhold his backing for Corbyn and his Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.
Speaking to the BBC’s John Humphrys, Brown said the Labour leader now faced the challenge of building a programme for government that was “credible and therefore electable”.
“Jeremy is a phenomenon. He has cut through because he expresses people’s anger at what has happened - the discontent,” he said. “When he attacks Universal Credit he is speaking for many people. When he says the health service is underfunded he is speaking for many.
“What he is saying on these things is absolutely right.”
Brown acknowledged that during his time in office as chancellor and later prime minister, he and Mr Corbyn rarely saw eye-to-eye, with the current Labour leader voting against the government more than 500 times.
He pointed out, however, that Corbyn had since adopted the New Labour slogan “For the many, not the few”, while McDonnell had backed Brown’s decision in office to make the Bank of England independent.
“Jeremy has articulated a view of a fairer society,” Brown said.
“You have got to convert this sense that you have restored people’s faith in your principles to a plan for the future that is credible and therefore electable and a programme that is popular
“They are now with the responsibility - and I hope that they can discharge it - of showing that they can produce a programme that is costed and which is popular and which is both radical and progressive.
“That is the challenge for any left-wing or progressive party.”