Jeremy Corbyn wants a “Tory Brexit” so the Conservative Party gets the blame “when things go wrong”, former Labour chancellor Alistair Darling has said.
Lord Darling said Labour had been “taken to the cleaners” at the European elections last month because there was not “clarity” on whether the party backed a second referendum or not.
“It’s never been clear to me that Jeremy Corbyn isn’t a Brexiteer. Look at his track record since 1974,” he told HuffPost UK.
“I think what he wants to see is a Tory Brexit so therefore if things go wrong it will be their fault.”
Corbyn came under heavy fire at the meeting of his MPs on Monday evening after millions of Labour voters abandoned the party in favour of the pro-EU Lib Dems and Greens.
The next day Labour MP Anna Turley said the “cleaners are probably still mopping up the blood on the carpet” from the meeting.
Lord Darling, who served in both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown’s governments, was speaking after delivering a speech at the Policy Exchange think-tank in Westminster on Tuesday evening.
“I think what really hit labour at the European election is not having a clarity on its position on a second referendum,” he said.
“In politics if you are not clear on something big you’ll get taken to the cleaners and that’s precisely what happened.
“If I was leader of the Labour Party I would bear in mind that predominantly the membership and the people who vote for Labour are Remain.”
He added: “If you basically say to your core support ‘well I’m not really with you’ it’s not surprising they take their business elsewhere.”
Darling campaigned for Remain in 2016 and led the the Better Together pro-Union campaign in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.
He said his experience in Scotland meant he was “not persuaded” that a second Brexit referendum was a good idea given the the “scars and the divisions” that would be created.
“It won’t be a cold examination of the facts. It’ll be about betrayal about a lack of trust,” he warned.
“I live in one of the most Remain cities in the UK [Edinburgh] and an awful lot of people who voted Remain do not want another referendum.”
“I don’t support a second referendum,” Darling had said in his speech. “We are going to have to live with it even though it’s not my preferred outcome.”
He added that he did vote Labour at the European elections but “most of the people I know” did not.
Lord Darling’s comments came ahead of an attempt by Labour on Wednesday to use its opposition time in the Commons to prevent the next Conservative prime minister forcing a no-deal Brexit.