Is Labour leadership challenger Owen Smith just copying Corbyn’s ideas?

Britain's opposition Labour Party leadership candidate Owen Smith speaks at a rally in London, Britain July 26, 2016. © Neil Hall
Labour leadership hopeful Owen Smith is just borrowing policies that Jeremy Corbyn has already pledged to bring into effect, according to the party leader’s campaign team.

The team has, apparently sarcastically, lauded the adoption by Owen Smith of a number of the current leader’s policies in recent days.

Their comments came after Smith used a speech at the former mining village of Orgreave, South Yorkshire, to call for the reinstatement of a Ministry of Labour – a policy which Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell articulated during the EU referendum.

A spokesman for the ‘Jeremy for Labour’ campaign told the Guardian on Wednesday that the campaign welcomed Smith’s “focus on equality of outcome, re-industrialisation, and workers’ rights,” as well as his “support for policies announced in recent months by Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell.

The campaign also applauded Smith for “repeating the Labour leader’s call for a ban on exclusive workforce recruitment from abroad, made during the referendum campaign, among other policies.

Owen’s speech today shows the leadership that Jeremy Corbyn has demonstrated in placing economic justice and fairness back at the heart of Labour politics,” the spokesman added.

Also on Wednesday, a Blairite MP warned the public against what he called “North Korea-style loyalty” demanded by Corbyn supporters.

Tom Blenkinsop told the Guardian that Momentum, the broad campaign group working to get Corbyn re-elected, liked to “draw up lists,” adding that “it’s what the hard left do.

They draw up lists of people with j’accuse and all that type of nonsense. It’s all they are interested in – identifying traitors,” he said.

They are not affiliated and should be proscribed,” Blenkinsop said of the group.

They can change their name but it’s the same thing – if people are wise, they will see it is the devious politics of the hard left.