Jeremy Corbyn has a “very strong” prospect of winning the next general election, Lord Mandelson has conceded.
The former Labour cabinet minister has previously been extremely critical of Corbyn and his electoral
Before the election he famously said he worked “every single day” to try and remove Corbyn from the leadership of the party.
But speaking to BBC Radio 4′s Today programme on Friday, Lord Mandelson said some Tory MPs now believed they faced “annihilation” at the hands of Labour.
“I’m not a Corbynista. I am New Labour to my core because I believe in both social justice and economic efficiency,” he said.
“But he is the leader, the Tories are giving him and the Labour party victory on a plate at the next election, it seems to me but what sort of victory he gets depends on him and what he does now.”
Lord Mandelson said if Corbyn wanted to secure a big win at the next election, due in 2022, he should reach out to voters in the centre ground.
“I think obviously the prospects for the Labour party are now looking very strong. I think Mr Corbyn has a choice,” he said.
“First of all, I’ve talked to two Conservative MPs in the last week in Parliament who are now talking about the threat of annihilation of the Conservative party at the next election and that very referendum that was designed to heal the divisions in the Conservative Party has instead deepened them further.
“But I think the actual result depends on what Jeremy Corbyn does now and I think he has a choice.
“In the party he can go for total ideological control of Labour or he can opt instead for unity right across Labour’s broad spectrum.
“And in the country he can either consolidate his sort of sectarian support on the left and amongst young voters or he can additionally embrace more centrist and older voters.
Pressed on why Corbyn should move to the centre, given his unexpected election result came on the back of a more leftwing platform, Lord Mandelson added: “This is what will make the difference to a slender victory for the Labour party at the next election or a substantial working majority, and obviously I hope he aims for the latter.”