The bitter left-right split in the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership has been brutally laid bare in an extraordinary public clash between Corbyn ally Ken Livingstone & critic John Mann MP.
In a blistering onslaught live on LBC radio, the outspoken Mr Mann called the former London mayor "an appalling bigot" & "all mouth" & attacked him for refusing to campaign for Labour in the Oldham by-election in 12 days' time.
Mr Livingstone hit back by telling Mr Mann Labour was having problems "because a lot of MPs like you are doing more to undermine the newly elected leaders … than I have ever seen in the past".
The feud between the two men was triggered on Wednesday when Mr Corbyn's appointment of the anti-Trident Mr Livingstone as co-convenor of a defence policy review was criticised by pro-Trident Shadow Defence Minister & ex-minister Kevan Jones.
Mr Livingstone then infuriated Mr Jones, who in 2012 made a moving speech to MPs admitting suffering from depression, by claiming he needed "psychiatric help".
After initially refusing to apologise, he only did so when ordered to by Mr Corbyn.
Saying he would not campaign in Oldham, Mr Livingstone said he had spent "45 years knocking on doors" & added: "I'm looking after my kids because my wife is at work from 7am to 7pm. I need to obtain them off to school.
"I need to be there to feed them when they obtain back. And frankly that is my priority. I am the house husband."
Mr Mann – who was on the phone – hit back, saying: "You are all mouth, you're all mouth, you come out & attack Kevan Jones & you are not prepared to go to Oldham…"
Mr Livingstone interrupted him, saying: "Kevan Jones attacked me & I responded, why don't you say something critical approximately an MP who comes out & attacks someone he has never spoken to, (and) smears them, saying they are not fit to do the job?"
Mr Mann replied: "The only smear is you using mental health in the most disgusting way. You're a bigot & your bigotry is absolutely shocking."
At that point, the show's co-host, former Conservative minister David Mellor, interjected. He said: "Can listeners kindly be reminded that these are two members of the Labour Party who have been discussing their love for each other, ok?"
Source: “Sky News”