FORMER Downing Street spin doctor Alastair Campbell claimed Labour under Jeremy Corbyn was "asleep on the job" as he outlined why he no longer wanted to be part of the party.

Campbell, who was director of communications during Tony Blair's premiership, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I think that with Jeremy Corbyn he has got to look deep into himself and say is he up to the job, is he up to the challenge that (he) now faces because if not, we are heading to a very dark, dangerous place with an unbelievably right-wing, populist Government and the answer to which is not a populism of the left."

He added: "I don't think it's personal, I think I'm saying what I think, it's based on a lot of experience of campaigns and of politics, and reading it as I read it now, Labour is facing its own existential crisis... I think there is a danger that we're going to be destroyed as a serious credible political force unless we face up to the reality of what's going on."

Asked if he would be joining the Lib Dems, Mr Campbell said: "No, I don't feel I'm close to other parties, but I do think if we do get to a general election and the choice facing the country is Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn all sorts of things are going to happen because that is not a choice that this country finds remotely palatable."

Campbell said he wanted to support Labour, but added Mr Corbyn's Labour Party had "been taken over by people who until recently were Communists, they were Stalinists and they still are in my view and I think it's time to stop pretending all of us, members, MPs, let's stop pretending that this is the Labour Party that we really believe in."

On Corbyn, he told Today: "He has not led on Brexit, the anti-Semitism issue, there has not been proper leadership, they kid themselves that there's a policy agenda out there that the country is even aware of."

On Johnson, he added: "He's now focusing on Jeremy Corybn and the weakness of his leadership as a way of trying to clear the decks towards a general election, blaming Europe, blaming the civil service, blaming Parliament for blocking him and he thinks, probably rightly, that the country's decided they will not put Jeremy Corbyn into office and I think we have to face up to that truth."

National Farmers' Union (NFU) president Minette Batters said the mass slaughter of livestock was "absolutely something that we want to avoid at all costs", as she queried where lamb products would go if farmers were "tariffed out of the EU market".

Asked about the NFU's earlier warning that tariffs following a no-deal Brexit could lead to the mass slaughter of livestock, she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Well, that is absolutely something that we want to avoid at all costs, but the bottom line is we're exporting 40% of our sheep production, we are the second largest producer of sheep meat in the world, so if we are priced ... we're tariffed out of the EU market, where does that 40% go?

"Now, trade deals don't just get picked off the shelf in a couple of months, so there has to be a short-term measure to deal with the 40% of lamb, because you cannot stop the TRQs (tariff-rate quotas) that are coming in effectively from New Zealand, whereby we import 40%.

"Now that might seem daft, listeners, but that is the rules of the WTO (World Trade Organisation) and we wouldn't be able to change them, so where does that 40% go?"

Batters suggested that procurement arrangements could be changed, as she argued that moves aimed at opening up market opportunities in the US and China "isn't happening".

She told Today: "That (slaughter of livestock) is the last thing anybody would want to see happen because we want to see farmers have viable businesses at the end of this. There are things that can be done, we could go to whole British procurement across our hospitals, our schools.

"Government buying standards, Government contracts at the moment, those are not based on British sourcing at all and they could be.

"We could look at and should be looking right now at opening up market opportunities in China, but that isn't happening.

"There's also opportunities in the United States that could be happening right now, but it isn't happening."

Secretary of state for Wales Alun Cairns said the UK was focusing on new markets across the world outside of the EU.

He told Today: "We are now looking to the growth that will come from right around the world, 90% of global growth will come from outside of the EU, but we don't want to close our back on the European market either and that's why working hard to get a deal is important, but of course there needs to be a shift in attitude and a positive response to the cause that we're making."

On the Government's no-deal preparations, he added: "Unless you can follow through on an alternative to having a deal, then your hand is much weaker. So by being fully and properly prepared, we are increasing the chances of getting that deal with the EU that we would like to have, but of course we need to see that undemocratic backstop removed so that we can be an independent trading nation, but also have a very close trading relationship with the EU."