I didn’t call Cor­byn a lu­natic... I was talk­ing about me

Smith is sorry for ‘colour­ful’ words

Daily Mirror - - NEWS - BY JACK BLAN­CHARD Deputy Po­lit­i­cal Edi­tor

LABOUR lead­er­ship hope­ful Owen Smith has in­sisted he was talk­ing about him­self af­ter ap­par­ently call­ing Jeremy Cor­byn “a lu­natic”.

Mr Smith had told sup­port­ers at a rally: “What you won’t get from me is some lu­natic at the top of the Labour Party – you’ll have some­one who tries to form a co­her­ent nar­ra­tive about what’s wrong with Bri­tain.”

The Cor­byn cam­paign team hit back and said: “Owen Smith has de­graded this con­test by de­scend­ing into per­sonal abuse. He should apol­o­gise to peo­ple suf­fer­ing with men­tal ill­ness.”

And Mr Cor­byn added: “I de­plore the use of that lan­guage in any con­text.”

But Mr Smith yes­ter­day in­sisted the re­marks the night be­fore were taken out of con­text. He told the BBC: “Hav­ing been ac­cused ear­lier in the evening of run­ning around like a lu­natic, I was say­ing I wasn’t a lu­natic.

"If any­one is of­fended by the use of that word then I do apol­o­gise but I wasn’t talk­ing about Jeremy.”

It is the lat­est gaffe by the Welshman, af­ter last month’s vow to “smash” new PM Theresa May “back on her heels”.

But he de­nied it sug­gested he was not ready to be leader. He added: “It sug­gests I’m oc­ca­sion­ally a bit colour­ful with my lan­guage. I need to be slightly less colour­ful, per­haps, in fu­ture.”

Mr Cor­byn, who yes­ter­day set out plans to end pri­vate con­tracts in the NHS, is still favourite to re­main leader.

But the Sav­ing Labour cam­paign, which opposes him, claimed Mr Smith was on course to win by 4,000 votes.

LABOUR’S lead­er­ship race is a mis­er­able gaffe-fest when Owen Smith ap­pears to be com­pet­ing with Jeremy Cor­byn to see who can make the most mis­takes.

The chal­lenger’s “lu­natic” blun­der af­ter vow­ing to “smash” Theresa May back on her kit­ten-heels was self-harm­ing rugby club talk.

In­tense scru­tiny comes when you pitch for a top job, as Smith has rapidly dis­cov­ered.

He has pub­lished an im­pres­sive pol­icy plat­form, pos­sesses huge en­ergy, shows a sharp wit and is firmly on the party’s Left. But he, like Cor­byn, needs to stop scor­ing own goals.

RI­VALS Smith and Cor­byn

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