Winston Churchill’s Tory MP grandson has branded John McDonnell a "stupid Poundland Lenin" in a row over the WW2 Prime Minister’s legacy.
Sir Nicholas Soames vented his fury after the Shadow Chancellor said Churchill was a "villain" for ordering troops into the Welsh valleys.
The Labour frontbencher was asked "hero or villain?" at a Playbook Live event last night, and replied: “Villain – Tonypandy”.
Churchill sent 200 Met Police officers into Tonypandy, with a detachment of Lancashire Fusiliers held in reserve in Cardiff.
But the soldiers were eventually sent onto the streets of the Rhondda Valley village to control striking miners who vandalised town centre shops and mineowners’ property.
The move left much bad-feeling towards Churchill in the Valley, though the controversy was largely forgotten after he led Britain to victory over the Nazis.
Churchill’s grandson Sir Nicholas told the Telegraph: “Frankly it’s a very foolish and stupid thing to say.
"I think my grandfather’s reputation can withstand a publicity-seeking assault from a third-rate, Poundland Lenin.”
Boris Johnson, who has written a biography of Churchill, added: “Winston Churchill saved this country and the whole of Europe from a barbaric fascist and racist tyranny, and our debt to him is incalculable.
"McDonnell should be utterly ashamed of his remarks, and should withdraw them forthwith."
Labour MP Ian Austin, a serial critic of the leadership, said Churchill was "a real British hero, the greatest ever Briton, the man who motivated Britain to defeat the Nazis and fight not just for our liberty but the world’s freedom too."
He even tweeted a figure of the late PM on his mantlepiece.
Other Labour MPs heaped praise on him, with Chris Leslie calling Churchill a “great leader" and Gavin Shuker saying he was “grateful he was in charge when he was.”
But some Labour MPs – who are no great allies of Jeremy Corbyn – rallied behind the Shadow Chancellor.
Labour MP Steve Reed said: "My grandad hated him and wouldn’t hear his name spoken because he sent in troops to shoot striking miners."
Labour MP Chris Bryant tweeted: "As MP for the Rhondda I agree with John McDonnell on Tonypandy.
"The Rhondda was the only seat where Churchill was never welcome.
"He was wrong about India, too, but without his leadership and ability to reach out to Labour in 1940 we would never have fought and defeated fascism."
Pro-Corbyn commentator Ash Sarkar said: "Nuthin’ but respect. I’m glad that the Labour Party has frontbenchers like johnmcdonnellMP who aren’t afraid to face up to the nastier aspects of British history – not so we can malinger and malign, but to collectively build towards a better future."
Fellow loyal columnist Owen Jones said: "We’re long overdue a debate not just about Winston Churchill, but about the British Empire.
"We’ll never understand ourselves, let alone the world, or have an informed discussion about British foreign policy or racism, without doing so.
"So let’s not allow that to be shut down."
Writer David Schneider summed it up by saying: "Possible thought. Churchill did some very good things and some very bad things. Please don’t @ me."
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