On day of chaos for leader, he even fibs about Queen’s fes­tive TV mes­sage by claim­ing he watches broad­cast... on Christ­mas MORN­ING!

Daily Mail - - Front Page - By John Stevens Deputy Po­lit­i­cal Ed­i­tor

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?

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