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Baroness Blood hits out at Corbyn over local election block

By Rachel Martin

A Labour peer from Belfast has accused Jeremy Corbyn of "helping to destroy" her party.

Baroness May Blood also criticised the Labour leader for blocking Northern Ireland members from standing for election.

"When you raise issues pertaining to Northern Ireland, you can almost see red mist coming down," the peer told a Radio Ulster interview, adding she "didn't think much" of London MP Mr Corbyn.

"He may be a decent man, but personally I believe he's helping to destroy the Labour Party, and that would be a sad day for this country," she explained.

Claiming the party was becoming a "victim of itself", Baroness Blood added: "Even before Corbyn, it was all about whether you were a Blairite, a Brownite, a whatever-ite, tearing each other apart. They deserve what happened to them, but we've got to pull ourselves back.

"If Theresa May was to call a snap election, Labour would have a lot of work to do."

The peer also attacked Mr Corbyn for failing to repeal regulations that prevent people running under a Labour ticket in Northern Ireland.

"Jeremy Corbyn will slowly come to realise we've got to be recognised," she said. "If we were able to put people up for Belfast City Hall (council elections), that would at least be a breakthrough where people are putting real ideas forward, rather than old mantras of 'here's the flag, vote for us'."

When asked about how she thought the Lords would vote on Brexit, Baroness Blood replied: "The outcome will be different. If Brexit goes through, there is the possibility that people try to do away with the House of Lords, which I think is rather silly.

"People think it's a talking shop, but it does tremendous work and I don't think the public really gets a hold of that.

"Worldwide, people are so fed up with politics and politicians. I often say, even about politicians here, that a whole lot of them speak for us, but very few of them speak to us."

But the peer stopped short of agreeing that a people's revolution was under way.

"I think people are just so disgusted by the system that when they get the chance to give it a good kick, that's exactly what they do," she said.

Baroness Blood was the first Northern Ireland woman to be given a life peerage. She is also the president of the Labour Party in Northern Ireland.

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