CORBYN CAUGHT OUT OVER QUEEN
On day of chaos for leader, he even fibs about Queen’s festive TV message by claiming he watches broadcast... on Christmas MORNING!
JEREMY Corbyn was left red-faced yesterday for apparently trying to pretend he watched the Queen’s message on Christmas Day.
In an excruciating interview, the Labour leader claimed he usually put the broadcast on in the morning. But when it was pointed out the speech is screened at 3pm he seemed to claim this was only a repeat.
The embarrassing exchange ended with ITV’s Julie Etchingham telling him: ‘You don’t watch it do you, Mr Corbyn?’
A Tory party spokesman seized on the gaffe by insisting Boris Johnson always watched the royal broadcast. In further setbacks for Labour yesterday:
The official statistics authority rebuked the party for claiming crime doubled under the Tories;
New Statesman, a Left-leaning magazine, refused to endorse Labour for the first time;
The Shadow Chancellor John
McDonnell was ridiculed over his claim that his plans would save families £7,000 a year;
Donald Trump cancelled a Nato press conference at which Labour had hoped the US President would go off script about the NHS;
Former Labour minister Ivan Lewis urged his constituents to vote Conservative to stop Jeremy Corbyn becoming prime minister;
It was claimed that Labour’s policy of scrapping short prison sentences could lead to an extra 40,000 offenders on the streets;
Labour grandee Lord Falconer challenged union chief Len McCluskey’s claim that Mr Corbyn should cling on if defeated.
When he was elected Labour leader four years ago, Mr Corbyn prided himself on his slogan of ‘straighttalking honest politics’.
But his pledge unravelled in the exchange over the Queen’s Christmas message. Instead of admitting he didn’t watch it, Mr Corbyn gave an account of how he spends the day, visiting a ‘ homeless shelter, either on Christmas Day, or the day before’. The royal Christmas message was first broadcast in 1932 by George V, with 3pm seen as the best time for reaching Empire countries by shortwave radio. It has held the same spot for 87 years.
As a backbencher, Mr Corbyn backed moves to replace the Queen
‘They don’t answer their doors’
with an elected president and has faced heavy criticism for refusing to sing the national anthem.
Ahead of the 2017 election, Mr Corbyn rejected suggestions he would abolish the monarchy, saying: ‘It’s certainly not on my agenda.’
But in a TV debate earlier in this election campaign, Mr Corbyn said he believed the Royal Family needed ‘a bit of improvement’.
In the ITV interview yesterday, Mr Corbyn also suggested he would give up the prime minister’s country residence at Chequers if he wins the election. The Labour leader said he would follow Mr McDonnell’s example and give the Buckinghamshire pile to a homeless family.
Mr McDonnell says he would let a rough sleeper move into 11 Downing Street if he became chancellor.
Mr Lewis urged voters to reject Mr Corbyn in a post on his Facebook page. The former Labour minister, who is on the ballot paper in Bury South as an independent, said ‘institutionalised racism’ and antiSemitism in Labour had led him to take the stance.
Mr Lewis, who is Jewish, said the only way to stop Mr Corbyn in Bury South was to vote Conservative.
A Labour source said: ‘Ivan
Lewis was suspended from Labour while we investigated serious sexual harassment complaints about him. He left the party shortly before his hearing, denying the complainants their opportunity for their case to be heard.
‘He is not a credible voice on tackling discrimination.’
Election canvassers yesterday said they were struggling to get through to millennial voters – because they never answer their doors. Labour campaigners are having to spend thousands on social media adverts to reach the young because the traditional method of handing out leaflets does not work.
Laura Parker, of the pro-Corbyn grassroots group Momentum, told supporters: ‘Our door-knocking operation is huge but we have a problem. The millions of young people who registered to vote – they don’t often answer the door.
‘They don’t answer the door but they are on social media. Our viral videos have already been seen by millions.’
A poll last night gave the Conservatives a ten- point lead. The Savanta ComRes survey for the Daily Telegraph put the Conservatives on 42 and Labour on 32, with the Lib Dems in third on 12 points. It would translate into a 48seat Tory majority.
The Leader Interviews: Jeremy Corbyn will be on ITV tonight at 7.30pm.
FOR our part, this newspaper couldn’t care less whether Jeremy Corbyn watches the Queen’s Christmas Day message. (Though as a lifelong republican, it’s hardly surprising he doesn’t.)
Listening to Her Majesty’s thoughtful and calm reflections is, for many families, a fixture of the festive season.
Of course, many others may be busy seeing relatives or tucking into a late lunch. Either way, we pass no judgment.
No, what stinks to high heaven about Mr Corbyn’s remarks, elicited by ITV interviewer Julie Etchingham’s gentle but deadly sabre, is his shameful willingness to lie.
When she asked how he spends Christmas Day, he could have been honest. ‘Reading dry Marxist tomes’, he might have said. ‘Down the allotment’, even.
Instead, he was caught out. ‘It’s on in the morning, usually we have it on some of the time,’ he blustered, prompting Miss Etchingham to reply: ‘You don’t watch it do you, Mr Corbyn?’ He was utterly skewered.
Of course, yesterday’s little lie was but the tiny sprig of holly on top of a whole steaming Christmas pudding of lies the Labour Party has tried to feed voters since the start of the election campaign. Only hours earlier, a watchdog reprimanded the Labour leader for peddling falsehoods about violent crime.
Meanwhile, his claims families would be nearly £7,000 better off under Labour were found to be based on sums that would embarrass a primary school pupil. And at the heart of his campaign is one great big lie: that they’re going to tax the rich to pay for everyone else to have a free lunch.
But perhaps it will be yesterday’s little lie that will resonate more than anything else among already sceptical voters.
For if you can’t get a politician to tell you the truth about what he does on Christmas Day, how can you believe anything he says?