Jim Murphy launches scathing attack on Jeremy Corbyn

Jim Murphy campaigning ahead of the Scottish independence referendum in 2014. He has criticised the UK Labour party leaderaship as 'emotionally inept'. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Jim Murphy campaigning ahead of the Scottish independence referendum in 2014. He has criticised the UK Labour party leaderaship as 'emotionally inept'. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

A former East Renfrewshire MP and Scottish Labour MP has launched a scathing attack on his party’s leadership, claiming Jeremy Corbyn and his team are “intellectually arrogant, emotionally inept and politically maladroit”.

Jim Murphy, who led the party in Scotland from 2014-15, made the damning remarks in a full-page advert in the pages of the Jewish Telegraph.

The dramatic intervention follows weeks of accusations that Mr Corbyn has failed to tackle anti-Semitic elements within his party.

Mr Murphy, who represented East Renfrewshire until 2015, the constituency with the largest Jewish population in Scotland, said he “could no longer remain passive while the current Labour leadership does so much damage to Labour’s relationship with British Jewery”.

He claimed the party had appeared to have “deliberately turned its back” on Jews living in the UK.

He continued: “When in a hole of its own making, rather than stopping digging, Labour’s leadership has asked for a bigger shovel.

“British Labour’s top-team has shown itself to be intellectually arrogant, emotionally inept and politically maladroit.

“There’s no other way to explain why Labour has sustained a row with Jews about the best way to challenge the racism that Jews face.”

Mr Corbyn on Monday apologised for the hurt caused to Jews by anti-Semitism in Labour following stark warnings about the risk the row posed to the future of the party.

The Labour leader acknowledged there was an issue with anti-Semitism in the party and said people who denied that were “contributing to the problem”.

His comments came after deputy leader Tom Watson warned the party faces being lost in a “vortex of eternal shame” unless it addresses the concerns of the Jewish community.

But Mr Murphy went further, claiming there was “a small but growing minority of anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists” among the party membership and that Mr Corbyn was not doing enough to stamp them out.

“Jeremy is the elected leader and, along with the shadow cabinet, has the opportunity to shape party policy,” he said. “But no party leader has the right to shatter the relationship with British Labour and British Jewery.”

Mr Murphy held several cabinet positions under the premiership of both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

A prominent campaigner for a No vote in the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence, he became leader of the party north of the Border shortly after.

But his career as leader was marred by Labour’s disastrous performance in Scotland at the 2015 UK General Election, which saw the party lose all but one of the 41 seats it was defending - including his own.

Jackson Carlaw, who represents the East Renfrewshire constituency of Eastwood at the Scottish Parliament, said: “This is an unprecedented, powerful and thundering indictment of Corbyn by Jim Murphy. Sadly East Renfrewshire Labour and their elected members are outliers in this maelstrom of anti-Semitism.”

The Labour Party was asked for comment.