Owen Jones quits social media, blaming 'frothing keyboard warriors'

Niamh McIntyre
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Left-wing commentator Owen Jones has said he will quit all social media for the foreseeable future, after intense criticism from "keyboard warriors" from across the political spectrum.

Mr Jones said those on the hard left of the Labour Party had called him a "right-wing sellout careerist who's allied to Tony Blair and possibly in the pay of the Israeli government."

"[They believe] the Guardian have brainwashed me, that I was never really left-wing, and so on and so forth", Mr Jones wrote in a statement on his Facebook page.

Mr Jones also said those with more centrist views had blamed him for "the destruction of the Labour Party", presumably a reference to his support for both of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership bids.

The Guardian columnist has, until recently, been a consistent supporter of Mr Corbyn. During the 2015 leadership campaign, Mr Jones spoke at a number of Momentum rallies in support of the leader of the opposition.

However, after Labour lost the Copeland by election in February, becoming the first opposition party to lose a seat to the government since 1982, Mr Jones appeared to join calls for Mr Corbyn to stand down as leader.

Writing in the Guardian the day after the results, Mr Jones said: "If Corbyn decides he is unable to confront the multiple existential crises enveloping Labour, then an agreement should be struck where he can stand down in exchange for the guarantee of an MP from the new generation [of Labour MPs]."

"Both Corbyn and the parliamentary Labour party... should be aware that history is a savage judge".

It has been reported that Mr Jones favours Clive Lewis, the former shadow Business Secretary, to be the new leader.

Mr Jones' statement, posted to his Facebook page on Saturday morning, said he feared for the future of a Left which was prone to in-fighting and division.

"If [the Left] is overtaken by a loud minority who are, increasingly, bound by utter hatred towards anyone deemed to deviate from their sanctity of their cause, then there is no future."

"If they succeed, they'll turn the left into an ever diminished rump that, to the rest of the population, comes across as vicious, vindictive, and spiteful, and certainly not a cause they'll want to be part of."

The statement also signalled a move away from journalism.

"I don't even enjoy writing", said Mr Jones, who said he was "considering whether there's something else I can do with my life".

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