Sadiq Khan was awkwardly confronted by a member of the public over his decision to oppose Jeremy Corbyn in the last Labour leadership contest – as Corbyn looked on.
The London mayor and Labour leader took part in a good natured joint radio appearance on LBC on Friday afternoon.
One caller, Barry from Orpington, read out Khan’s criticism of Corbyn last summer.
Khan had written in The Guardian:
“Jeremy has already proved that he is unable to organise an effective team, and has failed to win the trust and respect of the British people. “Throughout the campaign and aftermath, Jeremy failed to show the leadership we desperately needed. His position on EU membership was never clear – and voters didn’t believe him.”
Barry asked: “Mr Mayor, were you wrong to say this?”
Responding, Khan told Barry: “Well done”.
“We had a leadership contest in our party and Owen Smith stood against Jeremy,” he said.
“And the magnanimity of Jeremy when he defeated Owen was to put him in his shadow cabinet.
Khan added: “Jeremy is not the first Labour leader to give jobs to candidates who stand against him, nor is he the first Labour leader who stands in an election and wins it, and brings onboard his team defeated candidates but those who supported the other candidates.
“If you can’t have frank discussion about the leadership contest, which is something the Tories didn’t do, when can you have a discussion?”
After Corbyn won the 2016 leadership election, he made Smith as his shadow Northern Ireland secretary.
Corbyn told Barry, and Khan, that he had fought hard for the Remain cause during the referendum.
The Labour leader was criticised by many Labour MPs, suspicious of his previous eurosceptic views, for failing to campaign hard enough.
“I led our party during the EU referendum campaign on a policy of ‘Remain and reform’,” he said.
“I believe the EU needs reforming needs quite a lot of fundamental change but I did say we should Reman,” he added. “My job is to lead the party I am very proud to lead the party.”
Corbyn also said while he was proud of the campaign he ran against Theresa May, he was “very sad we didn’t quite win the election”.