Jeremy Corbyn would win the hearts and minds of people if he is elected as Labour leader, a local party councillor has claimed.
John Brooks, Labour’s representative for Curborough on Lichfield City Council, believes that the left-wing Islington MP’s policies would help to tackle inequality.
The 66-year-old’s bid to replace Ed Miliband has drawn criticism in some quarters, with Tony Blair’s former spin doctor Alistair Campbell suggesting the party should choose “anyone but Corbyn”.
But Cllr Brooks argues that a victory would offer a real alternative to the “failed austerity policies” of the past five years.
He said: “We have got four very able leadership candidates, but I feel that Jeremy’s policies make him the best person to lead the Labour Party.
“We’ve seen in Scotland with the Scottish National Party’s success that left-wing ideas are what people want. We lost seats to the SNP because we failed to represent traditional Labour values, and it is time we returned to those ideals.
“I think with Jeremy as party leader we’ll gain more support and members in both Scotland and England because people want to see a fairer and more equal society.
“Jeremy is popular amongst Labour members and he offers an alternative to the failed austerity policies of the last five years.”
The Labour councillor, who has been a party member for 52 years, dismissed criticism that a Corbyn victory would make the party unelectable.
He argues that the public supports a number of the Islington MP’s policies.
Cllr Brooks hailed the Labour leadership contest as the most democratic election that has been held by the party in years.
He explained: “If Jeremy is elected as the new leader of the Labour party then that is democracy in action. Since the election our membership has increased by more than a third. We now have 270,000 party members.
“Jeremy’s policies are in the best interests of us all. Opinion polls show that scrapping tuition fees, renationalising the railways and strong public services are all supported by voters.”
Labour felt the backlash during recent elections, with Tory MP Michael Fabricant re-elected for a fifth time and Labour landing just four of the 47 seats on Lichfield District Council.
But Cllr Brooks believes it would be possible for Labour to take Lichfield and Burntwood at the 2020 general election on a left-wing platform.
He continued: “I’ve seen Lichfield change a lot over the last half a century, but politics comes in swings.
“I’ve represented the party on city, district and county council – I’ve seen three Labour MPs elected and I remember when we controlled the city council with 21 seats out of 30, so nothing is impossible in politics.”
However, Mr Corbyn’s bid for the party leadership hasn’t proved popular with all local Labour colleagues.
Labour opposition group leader on Lichfield District Council, Cllr Sue Woodward, said: “John’s entitled to his individual view, but others of us would prefer a candidate who is electable as a Prime Minister.”
The next leader will be announced at a special party conference on September 12. The vote will be held under the alternative vote system, where if a candidate fails to get 50 per cent of the vote on first choices, the hopeful who finishes last is relegated. The relegated candidate’s voters’ second choices are then redistributed – something that could continue until just two contenders are left.
Mr Corbyn, Andy Burnham, Liz Kendall and Yvette Cooper are in the running to replace Ed Miliband.