N. Ireland Politics

Corbyn destroying party says Labour peer Baroness Blood

Labour peer Baroness Blood
Image caption Baroness Blood gave a wide-ranging interview to the BBC's Talkback programme

Jeremy Corbyn is "helping to destroy" the Labour Party, according to a Labour peer from Belfast.

Baroness May Blood also criticised the Labour leader for not allowing members in Northern Ireland to stand for election.

She is the president of the Labour Party in Northern Ireland (LPNI).

People in Northern Ireland have been able to join the party since 2003, but they cannot run for election.

"When you raise issues pertaining to Northern Ireland, you can almost see red mist coming down," she said.

'Sad day'

Baroness Blood said she has met the Labour leader just once, but added that she "didn't think much of him".

"He may be a good, decent man, but personally I believe he's helping to destroy the Labour party, and that would be a sad day for this country," she said.

In a wide-ranging interview with BBC Talkback's William Crawley, Baroness Blood also discussed:

  • Her commitment to promoting integrated education
  • How she got her Lords title
  • Why she never wanted to be an elected politician in Northern Ireland

Baroness Blood said she believes the Labour Party is becoming a "victim of itself".

"Even before Corbyn it was all about whether you were a Blair-ite, a Brown-ite, whatever-ite, tearing each other apart," she said.

Image caption In April, Labour members signed a petition calling for the party to stand candidates in Northern Ireland

"They deserve what happened to them but we've got to pull ourselves back.

"If Theresa May was to call a snap election, which is very possible next year, Labour would really have a lot of work to do."

'Here's the flag'

Asked about the LPNI's future, Baroness Blood said: "Jeremy Corbyn will slowly come to realise we've got to be recognised.

"If we were able to put people up for Belfast City Hall (council elections), that would at least be a breakthrough where people are putting real ideas forward, rather than old mantras of: 'Here's the flag, vote for us,'" she added.

Baroness Blood admitted she "would never get used" to her peerage title.

"I always tell people to call me a whole lot of things, Baroness isn't one of them," she joked.

She told the programme that while she was happy to sit in the House of Lords, she never wanted to become an elected politician in Northern Ireland.

Children who lose

"In my time, if you wanted to be elected in Northern Ireland you had to be either orange or green," said Baroness Blood.

"I never had any real desire to be an elected politician."

Baroness Blood revealed that her biggest passion in life is helping children - and she has been a big advocate for encouraging integrated education in Northern Ireland.

"I came from a very poor background, I know what it's like to be denied certain things," she said.

"Within our own society, there are children who lose a lot, and it's up to us who have done well in life to help them."

BBC Talkback: William Crawley talks to Baroness May Blood will be broadcast on Wednesday 28 December on BBC Radio Ulster at 12:00 GMT

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