Two senior Labour MPs have engaged in a war of words as Austin Mitchell is told to stop attacking his own party.
Great Grimsby MP Mr Mitchell caused fury in party ranks when he took to Twitter to make kitchen jokes at Ed Miliband’s expense following coverage of the Labour leader’s two kitchens.
Mr Miliband was briefly at the centre of media interest when it emerged he posed in the smaller of his two kitchens for a BBC feature rather than be pictured in a more impressive main kitchen. Mr Mitchell suggested the Tories might introduce a second kitchen tax and published online a picture of himself at home captioned “this is what a real Labour kitchen looks like”.
The joke backfired with some party members. Hull MP Karl Turner is alleged to have sent Mr Mitchell a strongly worded email, now published by Mr Mitchell, in which he accuses the soon to step down Grimsby MP of damaging Labour.
The email posted on Mr Mitchell’s website said: “You’re a joke Austin. It’s very sad to see it but it’s becoming increasingly apparent. You think it clever to attack us. It’s not clever and you’ve had plenty out of the Party. Stop attacking us.
“I am reluctant to pull you up publicly because you love the attention so very much. If you can’t say anything supportive just keep your opinion to yourself. We need to retain Grimsby. You’ve done little to help with that. And I doubt you’ve ever had a kitchen in Grimsby. Mili has one in Donny and mines massive in East Hull. Thanks.”
Mr Mitchell, who described the MP as Labour’s “Tweet censor”, said he posted the private email because he thought Mr Turner had “overreacted.”
He told The Yorkshire Post: “I thought the email was a silly overreaction, and worth drawing people’s attention to.
“I get along with Karl, I’m not sure if he gets along with me, which is a shame as he is my whip.”
Mr Turner’s office has yet to comment.