Corbyn’s car crash interview
Humiliation on Woman’s Hour as he fails to explain policy on childcare
‘He isn’t up to the job of leading the UK’
JEREMY Corbyn torpedoed his own bid for political credibility yesterday when he proved unable to explain the cost of one of Labour’s flagship policies.
In a ‘car crash’ interview that went viral on the internet, the Labour leader repeatedly failed to set out the cost of the £4.8billion childcare policy he was launching.
He was caught out rifling through his party’s manifesto for the figure and even tried to look it up on his iPad as he tried to avoid humiliation during an interview on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour.
At one point he resorted lamely to saying it would cost ‘a lot’.
After suffering his Diane Abbott moment, Mr Corbyn was branded a ‘huge disappointment’ by users of the Mumsnet website after turning up late for a webchat and leaving early.
To add to his woes he was then forced to apologise to Woman’s Hour presenter Emma Barnett after his rabid supporters bombarded her with vile anti- semitic abuse on social media.
The row overshadowed his launch of Labour’s ‘race and faith’ manifesto which promised a crackdown on anti-semitism.
Yesterday’s humiliating interviews will frustrate his supporters after Labour made gains in the polls and began to close the gap with the Conservatives.
Mr Corbyn also gave a better than expected performance in Monday’s joint Channel 4 and Sky News televised debate and attracted support for some of his manifesto pledges.
The setback came as Mr Corbyn embarked on a tour of programmes aimed at women to promote the party’s flagship childcare policy.
On Woman’s Hour, he was asked how much plans to provide free childcare for two to four-year-olds would cost. He initially stumbled, saying ‘it will cost… it will obviously cost a lot’, to which interviewer Emma Barnett replied: ‘I presume you have the figures?’ Pressed further, he stalled for time before Miss Barnett announced, incredulously: ‘You’re logging into your iPad here. You’ve announced a major policy and you don’t know how much it will cost?’
During several uncomfortable minutes in which he failed ten times to provide the figure, she said: ‘Do you want me to tell you how much your policy will cost?’
Asked if the figure she provided was about right, he replied: ‘That sounds correct.’ She then asked if his office was run chaotically, to which he replied: ‘Well, I beg your pardon, my office is not run chaotically at all.’
Mr Corbyn later apologised for his failure to set out the cost of the childcare policy. During a campaign event in Watford, he said: ‘I didn’t have the exact figure in front of me, so I was unable to answer that question, for which obviously I apologise.
‘But I don’t apologise for what’s in the manifesto and I will explain exactly what the cost is.’ Mr Cor- byn was also asked on Woman’s Hour whether he was still vice president of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
He said he had resigned when he became Labour leader but it emerged later that he was appointed to the post after taking up the leadership. At a CND rally last year, he was introduced as vice president and the website still says he holds the position.
Last night Conservative International Development Secretary Priti Patel said: ‘Jeremy Corbyn wants to lead our Brexit negotiations that begin just 11 days after the election, but in this shambolic interview he’s made Diane Abbott’s grasp of detail look impressive.
‘Brexit is central to everything - get it wrong and we get everything else wrong. This car- crash interview shows Jeremy Corbyn isn’t up to the job of leading our country through the challenges ahead - he is simply too big a risk to take.’
SUPPORTERS portray Jeremy Corbyn as a principled man who speaks for ordinary working people and holds nothing back. As the election moves into its crucial final days, it becomes ever clearer how far this picture is removed from reality.
Take mass immigration, about which poll after poll has shown voters are deeply concerned. In public, the Labour leader has said that while he doesn’t share those concerns, he will respond by introducing fair rules to ‘manage migration’.
What he fails to spell out is that in private, his staff have drawn up proposals likely to increase net migration by tens of thousands every year.
Exposed by the Mail, a leaked document reveals Labour plans to throw open the UK’s borders to low and unskilled workers from around the world, while relaxing asylum rules and extending the rights of migrants’ relatives to settle in Britain.
If these are Mr Corbyn’s policies, doesn’t he owe it to voters to be open about them?
Or take his history of courting terrorists such as the IRA, Hamas and Hezbollah. Again and again, he has protested that his only wish was to bring about peace.
Yet the fact is that while he was sharing platforms with murderers and joining demonstrations to support them, Mr Corbyn was a maverick backbencher, in no position to negotiate anything.
No, his sole purpose was to show solidarity with the terrorists’ anti-British, antiAmerican and anti-Israeli aims, while making it chillingly clear he thought bombs were legitimate means of achieving them.
As for his economic policies, he was given an easy ride by an off-form Jeremy Paxman. But where Paxo’s hectoring was ineffective, Mr Corbyn’s credibility collapsed under forensic questioning by Emma Barnett on yesterday’s Woman’s Hour.
In 20 excruciating minutes of bumbling and consulting his iPad, the Labour leader proved he had no idea how many billions his reckless pledges would cost, or how he would fund them.
So ill-informed was he that he couldn’t even say if he was still vice-president of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (memo to Mr Corbyn: you are)!
Which brings us to the greatest challenge facing next week’s winner. How could voters trust such a clueless figure to negotiate a good Brexit deal for the UK, when he has made clear he will accept any terms Brussels demands, with no question of walking out of talks?
As the Prime Minister said yesterday: ‘This means signing up to Britain being governed by EU laws and EU courts for years to come, so we have no control over our laws, to free movement continuing indefinitely, so we have no control of our borders, and paying what Europe wants us to pay, so we have no control over our money.’
Indeed, after her self-inflicted wobble over social care, how wise Theresa May is to enter the final straight highlighting the dog’s dinner Mr Corbyn would make of Brexit.
As for her own fitness for the job, she is resolute and diligent, with sound principles and our country’s interests at heart. Isn’t that a great deal more than can be said for the alternative? WHITEHALL may disagree with a think tank’s finding that Britain lacks the military strength to deploy a division overseas. But with Army numbers down from 102,000 in 2010 to 78,400 today, it is clear cuts have left our defences hugely vulnerable. One other thing is indisputable, too: the vice-president of the CND is the last man on earth to rebuild them. BEARING out everything this paper has long argued, a study finds sex education and advertising birth control may have increased teenage pregnancy rates, while cutting such projects may have brought them down. Isn’t this yet another example of well-meaning ‘progressive’ measures having precisely the opposite of their intended effect?