Jeremy Corbyn courts controversy with Enver Hoxha quote at Christmas party


Jeremy Corbyn has risked fresh controversy by quoting Albanian communist dictator Enver Hoxha at a Labour Christmas party.

The party leader described Hoxha as a "tough ruler" in his remarks to staff at the private event, according to the New Statesman.

Hoxha ruled Albania with an iron fist for 40 years until his death in 1985, employing brutal Stalinist tactics in his drive to transform the country.

Mr Corbyn reportedly told staff at the event "this year will be tougher than last year".

Hoxha's new year message to the Albanian people in 1967 warned: "This year will be harder than last year. On the other hand, it will be easier than next year."

Mr Corbyn's remark was intended as a "humorous reference", according to Labour sources.

It follows the row over shadow chancellor John McDonnell quoting from Chairman Mao's Little Red Book in his response to George Osborne's Autumn Statement.

The sight of Mr McDonnell reading from a copy of the notorious book and then tossing it to the Chancellor during his response to the Spending Review caused widespread dismay on the Labour benches.

Shadow cabinet members Angela Eagle and Owen Smith both conceded the ploy by the veteran left-winger had "backfired" but Mr McDonnell defended the stunt, claiming it had allowed him to get his concerns about Tory courting of Chinese investment on the agenda.

Mr McDonnell later joked: "Someone said to me why did you throw the Little Red Book and I said 'well, Das Kapital is so heavy and it's a number of volumes'."