Andrew Murray has been enlisted by the Labour leader as a part time consultant as the party hones its Brexit strategy (file pic)
Jeremy Corbyn has drafted in a controversial former Communist to help run his office.
Andrew Murray has been enlisted by the Labour leader as a part time consultant as the party hones its Brexit strategy.
But his appointment has sparked anger among party moderates who have concerns about his political beliefs.
Mr Murray was a member of the British Communist party for 40 years before he quit to join Labour under Mr Corbyn’s left-wing leadership.
He has defended the Russian tyrant Stalin, suggesting his regime was better than living in the West.
And he has written an article expressing ‘solidarity’ with North Korea – which is ruled under the tyrant Kim Jong Un.
Mr Murray is also chief of staff to Len McCluskey at the Unite union, but will work a day and a half a week in Mr Corbyn’s office, The Guardian reports.
One shadow cabinet minister told the newspaper: ‘I see him around in the leader’s office and it’s a puzzle what he’s doing there.’
Unite, which is Labour’s biggest donor, will continue to pay Mr Murray’s salary and the arrangement has been reported to the Electoral Commission, the party said.
In his new role the left-winger will sit in on senior job interviews and discuss and help shape party strategy.
Mr Murray used to be a chairman of the Stop the War Coalition – the left-wing group set up to oppose the Iraq war which had ties to socialist parties in the UK.
He is an old friend of Seamus Milne, Mr Corbyn’s far-left chief spokesman.
Stalin’s tyrannical regime saw millions killed through purges and the forced collectivisation of farms.
And he imposed a police state in which Russians bullied and manipulated into informing on their friends, families and neighbours.
Mr Murray has also voiced his support for North Korea – saying that he has ‘solidarity with Peoples Korea’.
Jeremy Corbyn (pictured delivering his Brexit speech in Coventry today) has drafted in the controversial former Communist to help run his office
News of the appointment came as Mr Corbyn announced a radical change in the party’s Brexit policy.
He announced Labour would keep the UK in a customs union with the EU after the country quits Brussels.
In his biggest speech on Brexit since the referendum, the Labour leader made clear he is ready to sacrifice the UK’s ability to strike new trade deals in return for staying in a customs union with the EU.
Laying down the gauntlet to Theresa May ahead of her own keynote intervention on Friday, Mr Corbyn warned that nothing could be allowed to put the Good Friday Agreement at risk in Northern Ireland.
But the shift by Labour has already caused fury among the party’s Brexiteers, and was branded nakedly political by Tories, as it paves the way for a titanic Commons showdown.