SENIOR Labour figures are backing Jeremy Corbyn’s decision to stay simply red in the EU referendum campaign by refusing to share a platform with David Cameron.
Multimillionaire singer Mick Hucknall criticised the Labour leader on Monday night for refusing to take part in a cross-party Remain event.
The Simply Red frontman and former Labour donor wrote on Twitter: “What a shabby, spineless coward Jeremy Corbyn is proving to be. Either fully commit to #LabourIn OR #LabourLeave or GO! #Brexit” with chicken emojis to ram home the message.
Labour deputy leader Tom Watson made light of the sniping yesterday by opening a referendum campaign event with the opening lines of one of Mr Hucknall’s best known songs.
Multitalented Mr Watson belted out the first two bars of 1980s hit Holding Back The Years as he introduced Mr Corbyn to launch a new Labour poster at a press conference in Westminster.
“Holding back the years, thinking of the fear I’ve had so long,” he crooned to laughs from assembled activists.
Striking a more serious note, he also sang the praises of Mr Corbyn’s decision not to appear alongside senior Tories, warning it could “confuse” Labour’s message.
He told the Star: “It’s down to my colleagues to decide who they share a platform with and I’m quite relaxed about that.
“For me though I do think, because of David Cameron and George Osborne’s record on undermining the rights of trade unionists, it makes it harder for us to get our message across if we do share a platform with them, which is why I’ve made a personal decision not to.”
Shadow business secretary Angela Eagle also backed Mr Corbyn, quipping: “I’m a Pretenders fan so I don’t rate Simply Red.
“Jeremy has made his position clear: He thinks we should stay in Europe to fight for a more social Europe with more rights for people at work and that’s what he’s fighting to do.”
Mr Hucknall, whom Tony Blair has described as a “staunch” supporter, appeared to acknowledge Mr Corbyn’s commitment to the Remain campaign yesterday as he shared a photo of the leader at the poster launch with the message: “Hoorah!!”