Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman admitted he was wrong about Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in a U-turn of spectacular proportions.
Mr Sheerman, 76, who was first elected to the House of Commons in 1979, explained in a long statement to party members ahead of the Labour leadership election in the summer of 2016 that Mr Corbyn “failed abysmally to show real leadership” and that he was “convinced he does not have the ability to lead the Party.”
He added at the time: “Indeed, I fear an electoral disaster at the next election. Locally I think we could be in danger of losing all three Labour seats in Kirklees as well as dozens up and down the country.”
And there was much more in a similar vein.
But today Mr Sheerman, who is yet again the Labour candidate in the general election on June 8, said he had decided Mr Corbyn was the right man to lead the party after all.
He said: “We have been through that. After a failed attempt to get a different leader I have had discussions with Jeremy Corbyn and I decided to build bridges.”
Indeed, he was upbeat about the Labour general election campaign after Prime Minister Theresa May’s wobble at the weekend when she was forced on the defensive about the cost for families over social care plans and which saw the Conservatives’ lead in the polls slashed sharply.
And he said the party was now polling well among the post-25 voters saying: “Look at how well we are doing. Jeremy is seen to be quite a remarkable leader.”
However, it seems the Sheerman/Corbyn love-in has its limits.
When Mr Corbyn visited Beaumont Park recently to a rapturous reception from his supporters Mr Sheerman was nowhere to be seen. He admitted being in the Huddersfield area but said he had been busy campaigning.
And asked about some poll analysis carried out by Labour Uncut which claimed to show he would lose his seat he derided it as “fake news which has no credibility.”
Despite being one of the oldest MPs in the House of Commons he insists he has been blessed with a youthful optimism. He told the Examiner recently: “I’m looking forward to it with vim and vigour. Of course I will serve the full term. I’m still probably the most active MP on the Labour side.
“I’m still motoring about so I don’t see why I shouldn’t go on. I’m fit and well and I’ve shown a lot of people in the House of Commons how to be an effective MP.
“I enjoy acting as a mentor and advisor, it’s part of the joy of being in the job.”