Smith said although Corbyn and McDonnell’s “rhetoric has softened” and campaigning was now digital, “the real intention is just as it has always been”.
“To take control of the Labour Party, bit by bit, seat by seat, by fair means or foul, and to drag us away from the centre left of politics, where our values and our voters reside, to the hard left they represent, and which the country rejects,” he said.
“Jeremy Corbyn and his allies in Momentum want to lead our party down a route away from Labour’s mainstream, Parliamentary tradition, and away from the voters.
“And it is certainly not honest for Momentum to preach a message of unity, while planning to deselect the 170 MPs who dare to disagree with their assessment of Labour’s chances of winning.
“Momentum are trying to get rid of good Labour MPs through deselection, while Jeremy’s leadership is threatening to get rid of good Labour MPs through electoral defeat at the hands of the Tories.”
McDonnell’s aides hit back, saying Smith’s “bitter” speech showed he was ‘so desperate’ that he had a ‘scorched earth policy’ to talk down the party.
The Pontypridd MP said that whatever the outcome of the leadership contest, which ends on September 24, Labour’s future was still at stake.
“Just as we had to fight Militant in the 1980s, we have to fight to save the Party we love today. We know because the phony war and phony rhetoric has been swept aside in these last few weeks, as their true intentions have been revealed.
“Momentum in Brighton and Liverpool – some of them exactly the same people as were in Militant all those years ago – organising to deselect a Labour MP. Threats to MPs all over the country.
john “A ‘deselection list’ circulated by Jeremy’s campaign, attacking Labour MPs. Disowned by the campaign. Apologised for by the campaign. And then defended, on stage at this week’s hustings, by Jeremy himself.”
Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2016/09/16/owen-smith-jeremy-corbyn-momentum-militant-deselection-hit-list_n_12044580.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-politics&ir=UK+Politics