He added: “Working people cannot afford to have a day like today when the Tories are popping champagne corks and celebrating their coronation and the prospect of a Labour government feels so distant.”
But Smith criticised language used by John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, who branded rebels organising the coup against Corbyn of being “fucking useless” at a rally on Tuesday night.
“I’m an ordinary bloke and I used some bad language. If my mum was alive today she’d be phoning up and telling me she would wash my mouth out with soap and water and I apologise,” he said.
But Smith was scathing about the shadow chancellor. “John McDonnell is part of the problem we have in the Labour party,” he said. He accused him of being prepared to see the party split after shrugging in a meeting about the prospect of such a division – an account denied by the Labour leadership.
Smith said Corbyn was a good man and been proved right about many things including strongly opposing austerity, but was “not a leader who can lead us into an election and win for Labour”.