Alastair Campbell has admitted shunning Labour in the European elections to vote for an “unequivocally pro-remain” party.
Campbell told BBC Radio 5 Live that the election on Thursday was the “first time in my life” he did not vote Labour. “I voted for one of the unequivocally pro-remain, pro-People’s Vote parties and I did that because I think that’s the right thing for the country,” he told Stephen Nolan.
“I also think it’s the right thing that the Labour party gets the message that this policy of riding two horses has failed.”
Tony Blair’s former spokesman said he believed the country “made a terrible choice” and had realised “just how difficult Brexit is”.
He said Jeremy Corbyn’s approach to Brexit had failed but stopped short of saying the party should choose a new leader.
“If the Labour party carries on with this sort of facing both ways and pretending to leavers that we’re leave and pretending to remainers that we’re remain, the chances are of oblivion down the track.”
He added: “The Labour party membership, like the MPs, are overwhelmingly in favour of a people’s vote … so he [Corbyn] has gone against the membership and I think he’s going to pay a very, very deep price, not least when European election results come out.”
Campbell also said both Labour and the Conservatives gave a “free run” to former Ukip leader Nigel Farage at the polls. “It’s a complete disgrace that both the Conservatives and the Labour party effectively vacated the field from one of the most important elections in our recent times, giving a free run to Nigel Farage and the Brexit party,” he said.
Campbell said he did not intend to leave the party and hoped “to be able to vote Labour at the next election”.
Campbell’s change in political allegiances due to Brexit mirrors that of Tory peer Michael Heseltine, who said he would “experiment” with voting for the Liberal Democrats in the European elections.
Heseltine had the whip withdrawn after explaining his decision in an article in the Sunday Times, writing: “I cannot, with a clear conscience, vote for my party when it is myopically focused on forcing through the biggest act of economic self-harm ever undertaken by a democratic government.”