Cor­byn’s car crash in­ter­view

Hu­mil­i­a­tion on Woman’s Hour as he fails to ex­plain pol­icy on child­care

Daily Mail - - News - By Claire El­li­cott

‘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?

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