FORMER Labour prime minister Gordon Brown hailed Jeremy Corbyn as a “phenomenon” yesterday.
He praised the current party leader for having “restored people’s faith” in Labour’s principles.
Mr Brown said two years ago that members and supporters must not turn Labour into a “party of protest” by electing Mr Corbyn as its leader.
His supposed change of heart was revealed on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme when he said: “Jeremy is a phenomenon. He has cut through because he expresses people’s anger at what has happened — the discontent.
“When he attacks universal credit, he is speaking for many people. When he says the health service is underfunded, he is speaking for many.
“What he is saying on these things is absolutely right.”
Mr Brown acknowledged that, during his time in government, he and Mr Corbyn had rarely seen eye to eye. The latter voted against the then Labour government more than 500 times — often over the Iraq war.
“Jeremy has articulated a view of a fairer society,” Mr Brown said.
“You have got to convert this sense that you have restored people’s faith in your principles to a plan for the future that is credible and therefore electable and a programme that is popular.”
He said that Labour much now set about “producing a programme that is costed and which is popular and which is both radical and progressive” — implying that the party’s fully-costed manifesto is not credible enough for victory at the next general election.
“That is the challenge for any left-wing or progressive party,” Mr Brown added.
In May, before the snap general election, a ComRes survey showed that voters overwhelmingly backed policies in the manifesto such as nationalising the railways, building more housing, raising the minimum wage to £10 an hour and increasing taxes on higher earners.