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Prescott: Blair's attack on Corbyn 'totally unacceptable'

John Prescott on the Today Programme Credit: Twitter/BBC Radio 4

John Prescott has blasted his former boss Tony Blair for "totally unacceptable" comments he made about left-wing leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn.

In a rare speech yesterday, Blair told the centrist think-tank Progress that anyone whose heart was with Corbyn should get a "transplant".

Incensed by this, former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott told BBC Radio 4 that Blair's intervention was "absolutely staggering".

He said: "To use that kind of language is just abuse. The Labour Party is about the heart as well as the head. To suggest that somebody should have a transplant if they are making decisions by the heart is totally unacceptable."

He also rejected claims that it would be a "disaster" for Labour if Mr Corbyn became leader and said it was Mr Blair's invasion of Iraq which had undermined support for the party.

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Liz Kendall refuses to stand aside in Labour leadership

Liz Kendall (centre) and supporters Credit: Stefan Rousseau / PA Wire

Liz Kendall has said she will not pull out of the Labour leadership race to help block the challenge from Jeremy Corbyn.

The shadow care minister, currently a distant fourth, is said to be under pressure to quit to allow the right of the party to shore up the vote for one of her rivals - Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper.

However an aide to Ms Kendall - seen as the Blairites' favourite - insisted that she had no intention of standing aside.

They said Mr Burnham and Ms Cooper had only themselves to blame for the growing bandwagon apparently building behind Mr Corbyn.

"It's not going to happen. This briefing is nonsense because in a preference vote it doesn't matter how many candidates there are," a spokesman said.

Mandelson offers stark warning over Labour leadership

Labour's future as a viable party of government is under threat as it tears itself apart over the contest to elect a new leader, Lord Mandelson has suggested.

Lord Mandelson said Ed Miliband left Labour with a 'terrible legacy' Credit: PA

The former Cabinet minister followed Tony Blair in issuing a warning to the party over its future after radical left-winger Jeremy Corbyn surged ahead in a shock poll to become the front-runner to take the top job.

After a bruising day of recriminations the architect of its most successful electoral era said Ed Miliband's tenure had left Labour with a "terrible legacy".

Lord Mandelson told The Times: "Those of us who stayed and fought to save the Labour party in the 1980s will be experiencing a growing sense of deja vu.

"The last five years have left us with a terrible legacy to overcome with the existence of the Labour party as an effective electoral force now at stake."

Labour MPs 'in talks to deselect potential new leader'

There is talk among some Labour MPs of deselecting the new leader if it is someone they are not in favour of.

To do this they would need around 50 MPs to kickstart the plan into action.

It comes after a YouGov poll put Jeremy Corbyn as the forerunner with 43% of party supporters. This is followed by Andy Burnham on 26%, Yvette Cooper with 20% and Liz Kendall on 11%.

ITV News Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship reports:

Jeremy Corbyn asked: Do you want to be Prime Minister?

Footage courtesy of LBC

Jeremy Corbyn tonight said he would "of course" like to become Prime Minister, as Labour leadership candidates debated on LBC radio.

When asked directly by rival Yvette Cooper if he was in the race because he wanted to lead the country, the Islington North MP at first responded: "I am doing this because I want our party to change. I'm doing this because I'm putting myself forward to do the job in order to bring about that change."

Asked the same question another three times, Corbyn eventually replied: "Of course, because that's why we're all here."

Corbyn scraped onto the ballot for the leadership contest at the last moment, after several Labour MPs nominated him to ensure a wider field.

However, he has surprised many by become a frontrunner, falling from odds of 100-1 to 2-1 and being placed in a comfortable lead by a Times/YouGov poll released late on Tuesday.

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Nigel Farage backs Jeremy Corbyn: 'At least he's a socialist'

Nigel Farage backed Jeremy Corbyn because 'at least he's a socialist'. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Nigel Farage has lent his support to surprise frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn in his bid for the Labour leadership.

The Ukip leader was a caller on a leadership hustings hosted by LBC, and asked all four candidates whether they would consider voting no in an EU referendum.

After Liz Kendall, Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper all said they would not, Corbyn replied that "if Europe becomes a totally brutal organisation which treats member states in the way it has treated Greece", then it would lose the support of many people.

Corbyn then said Farage had never done anything that would "build a school or hire a teacher".

Despite that, Farage said that he would like to see the Islington North MP win the leadership contest because "at least Jeremy Corbyn's a socialist - and that's what the party's supposed to be."

Andy Burnham: Labour needs to come to its senses

Andy Burnham says Labour needs to "come to its senses" after a poll put rival Jeremy Corbyn comfortably ahead in the race to become the party's next leader.

Asked by ITV News Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship whether he was worried that his party was moving to the left, Burnham said: "I don't believe that we didn't win the last election because we weren't left wing enough."

The former Health Secretary is second in the running ahead of Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall, according to the Times/YouGov poll, though trails Corbyn in first preferences by 17 percentage points.

Corbyn responds to Blair: 'I don't know what he means'

Jeremy Corbyn has hit back at Tony Blair after the former Labour leader accused him of living in the past.

"I don't know what he means by 'taking the country backwards'," Corbyn told the press this lunchtime, saying that he believed his economic message about collecting uncollected taxes and making investments would be something Blair would be interested in.

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