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Jeremy Corbyn brushes off Barack Obama criticism

Jeremy Corbyn has brushed aside criticism from Barack Obama after the outgoing US president suggested Labour had lost touch with reality.

Mr Obama made the controversial remarks when asked if he feared a "Corbynisation" of the Democratic Party after its surprise defeat to Republican Donald Trump in the race for the White House.

In a wide-ranging interview with political strategist David Axelrod, who advised Ed Miliband in the run-up to the 2015 general election, Mr Obama was asked if he feared the Democrats could "disintegrate" like Labour had.

Mr Obama said: "I don't worry about that, partly because I think the Democratic Party has stayed pretty grounded in fact and reality."

He said even US left-wing senator Bernie Sanders was "pretty centrist" compared with Mr Corbyn.

However, Mr Corbyn's spokesman said the Labour leader represented what most voters wanted, and was "grounded in reality".

He told the Press Association: "Both Labour and US Democrats will have to challenge power if they are going to speak for working people and change a broken system that isn't delivering for the majority.

"What Jeremy Corbyn stands for is what most people want: to take on the tax cheats, create a fairer economy, fund a fully public NHS, build more homes, and stop backing illegal wars.

"For the establishment, those ideas are dangerous. For most people in Britain, they're common sense and grounded in reality."

Mr Obama also seemed to compare Labour to the Republicans, saying the US party "started filling up with all kinds of conspiracy-theorising that became kind of common wisdom or conventional wisdom within the Republican party base. That hasn't happened in the Democratic Party.

"I think people like the passion that Bernie brought, but Bernie Sanders is a pretty centrist politician relative to ... Corbyn or relative to some of the Republicans."

Meanwhile, left-wing film-maker Ken Loach branded Labour MPs who oppose Mr Corbyn a "bunch of political losers".

In a letter to The Guardian, Mr Loach criticised MPs he said should be labelled right-wing rather than moderate.

He wrote: "Any disarray or disunity in the party is the responsibility of those MPs. They attack Corbyn and John McDonnell day after day, refusing to promote party policy on jobs, housing, transport or the NHS, the core concerns of those they should represent.

"They offer no support, in parliament or outside. Worst of all, they show contempt for the hundreds of thousands of new members, mainly Corbyn supporters, who have made Labour the largest political party in Europe.

"This bunch of political losers are intent on the destruction of a Labour Party they cannot control."

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: "When a two-term president recognises that Labour has disintegrated it should be a wake-up call. Since the general election Labour have written the textbook on how to make a divided and divisive Government look half competent.

"The Conservatives have been through a leadership contest, been forced to ditch their entire economic plan and are now trying to force through a hard Brexit which will wrench Britain out of the single market with only the meaningless phrase of 'Brexit means Brexit' as a fig leaf.

"And where were Labour? Arguing amongst themselves for months and months on end before carrying on as before."

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