Jeremy Corbyn was asked to stop his supporters “bullying” potential allies during the general election campaign, it has been claimed.
The Labour leader faced pleas to condemn Labour activists who, it was said, were launching online attacks against Green Party backers.
The Green Party still hoped to convince Mr Corbyn to strike a deal so anti-Tory parties could work together to deny Boris Johnson victory.
But talks never got off the ground – and Green co-leader Sian Berry confronted the Labour leader when, she said, her party’s activists were subjected to web-based abuse.
“There needed to be a public statement – what we wanted to do was Jeremy Corbyn say, ‘Look, abusing the Greens for existing is not on, we are a democracy’. I think they were reluctant to stop it and that disappoints me,” she said in an exclusive Mirror interview.
“From our candidates-on-the-ground perspectives, Labour’s campaign consisted of people who supported the Labour Party absolutely bullying our members and trying to get them to step aside and not exist – and doing it in the least constructive possible way, usually on social media.
“I was very keen to speak to the Labour leadership about this.
“It isn’t proud, it isn’t strategic and it isn’t what I think any political leader would devise as a strategy – ‘Get our members/supporters to pile onto the other party in an individual, personal way’.
“It’s not right.”
She eventually tackled Mr Corbyn and his aides over the abuse during a phone call at the height of the election battle.
“We said the places where it was happening the most and the worst, and I think as a result of that they did go and speak to some of their local parties,” said Ms Berry, 45, who is bidding to become London Mayor in May.
“But the result was not the ‘call to cool it’ that I would liked to have seen.”
A Labour source said: “Jeremy has consistently condemned abuse and initiated a meeting of all political parties to improve our political culture.”
Of the telephone call, they added: “There was a discussion of political disagreement between Labour and Green activists but it wasn’t framed as online abuse or bullying.
“The party received no complaints of this nature.”
Ms Berry also accused the Labour chief of being partly to blame for handing the Conservatives a thumping majority.
Mr Corbyn came under pressure to join an alliance of Lib Dems, Greens and, in Wales, Plaid Cymru, so parties targeted resources where they could be most effective at defeating the Conservatives.
The plan was to divide up constituencies so parties only pumped cash into genuinely winnable seats, while they either pulled out of or “soft-pedalled” in constituencies where they stood little chance.
But Labour refused to sign-up.
“Obviously to make the difference we aimed to make in the general election it needed to be bigger – I think we needed Labour to be involved. Throughout the election we left the door open to Labour,” said Ms Berry.
“I at least thought we ought to be talking about where we were each targeting, and being honest about that.
“‘We will stand everywhere’ does not mean, ‘We will try to win everywhere’. There must have been targets.”
Negotiations about target seats “would have been a really sensible thing to do”, she added.
Ms Berry revealed that after Nigel Farage’s decision to pull Brexit Party candidates out of hundreds of Tory-held seats, the Labour hierarchy contacted her to arrange a series of conference phone calls.
Mr Corbyn, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and two of Mr Corbyn’s aides were on the line, along with Ms Berry, Green MP Caroline Lucas, and party co-leader Jonathan Bartley.
“We tried to talk to them and forge some effort to be honest about where we were targeting,” she said.
“At no point did anybody ask us to step down from anywhere, because that wasn’t what they wanted.”
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