Labour faces ‘electoral suicide’ under Corbyn, Renzi warns

It is not about being about being Blairite or anti-Blairite, but deciding ‘if we want to win?’

 Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi said Labour party will struggle with  Jeremy Corbyn as its new leader. Photograph: EPA

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi said Labour party will struggle with Jeremy Corbyn as its new leader. Photograph: EPA

 

Britain’s opposition Labour party has committed electoral suicide by picking left-winger Jeremy Corbyn as its new leader, Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi said on Monday, in a highly unusual attack on an allied group.

“The Labour party remains the only party that likes losing after the demise of the Washington generals,” Mr Renzi said.

The US basketball team shut down this year after losing more than 16,000 games to its sparring partner, the Harlem Globetrotters.

Mr Renzi is head of Italy’s largest centre-left group, the Democratic Party (PD), which is in the same political family as Britain’s Labour in the European Parliament.

The prime minister said that Labour had condemned itself to languish in opposition by selecting Mr Corbyn as its new leader after the previous head, Ed Miliband, resigned when Labour lost a general election in May.

“After what happened with Ed Miliband, you could have imagined anything bar what has happened with Corbyn,”

Mr Renzi told a meeting of senior PD officials shown on Italian television. “We are not talking about being a Blairite or an anti-Blairite, but deciding if we are happy just to take part or if we want to win,” he said.

Mr Corbyn, who admires Karl Marx, was overwhelmingly elected Labour leader by party faithful earlier this month - a victory that reflected growing support across Europe for left-wing ideology following years of budget austerity and economic gloom.

However, a poll published in Britain at the weekend said 72 per cent of people did not believe Mr Corbyn looked like a prime minister-in-waiting, and former Labour leader Tony Blair has said the party is unelectable with Corbyn at the helm.

Taking a swipe at another prominent European left-winger,

Mr Renzi expressed evident pleasure at the recent political demise of former Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, who broke with Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras over EU austerity demands, and did not stand in Greece’s election this weekend.

“We’ve got rid of him too,” Mr Renzi said, warning dissident factions within his own PD party of the dangers of splitting from the mainstream leadership.

Mr Tsipras won re-election in the ballot and received a swift congratulatory phone call from Renzi on Sunday night.