COR­BYN THE FIRST CLASS HYPOCRITE He says he was forced to sit on floor of ‘ram-packed’ train Vir­gin hits back with CCTV of the Labour leader in a seat

Daily Mail - - Front Page - By Ja­son Groves and James Salmon

JEREMY Cor­byn’s cred­i­bil­ity was in shreds last night af­ter CCTV sug­gested he lied about hav­ing to sit on the floor of a train.

In a highly un­usual move, Vir­gin Trains pub­lished im­ages flatly con­tra­dict­ing his claim that there were no free seats.

The Labour leader, who boasts of his ‘straight-talk­ing pol­i­tics’, had told a doc­u­men­tary crew film­ing him on the floor that the ‘ ram-packed’ ser­vice high­lighted the need to re­na­tion­alise the rail­ways. But se­cu­rity cam­eras show that only min­utes ear­lier he had walked past empty – and un­re­served – seats.

And he can be seen tak­ing one of the seats af­ter the in­ter­view fin­ished.

Rail min­is­ter Paul May­nard ac­cused Mr Cor­byn of car­ry­ing out a dis­hon­est stunt to ad­vance his po­lit­i­cal agenda. Will Quince, a Tory mem­ber of the Com­mons trans­port com­mit­tee, said: ‘This makes Mr Cor­byn look grossly hyp­o­crit­i­cal. His sup­port­ers like to paint him as a gen­uine man but this stunt is clearly not gen­uine.

‘There is no ques­tion that lots of com­muters are un­able to get seats on trains at peak time. But what they want is ac­tion, rather than politi­cians try­ing to score points. I thought Mr Cor­byn was bet­ter than this.’

Labour’s for­mer deputy leader Har­riet Har­man said she was baf­fled by the in­ci­dent. ‘There is a case for more pub­lic con­trol or own­er­ship of the rail­ways, but you build that case on the foren­sic facts and fig­ures not by sit­ting out­side a toi­let in a rail­way car­riage,’ she said.

‘He’s got a cam­paign team – you would have thought they would have booked him a seat.’

Vir­gin’s de­ci­sion to pub­lish its CCTV footage ap­pears to have been au­tho­rised per­son­ally by co-owner Richard Bran­son. The bil­lion­aire posted im­ages

on his own Twit­ter feed, say­ing Mr Cor­byn walked past empty un­re­served seats.

Labour spokes­men last night in­sisted he had been un­able to find un­re­served seats when he boarded the 11am King’s Cross to New­cas­tle ser­vice on Au­gust 11.

But a CCTV pic­ture of Mr Cor­byn timed at 11.07am showed him walk­ing through coach H, in which there ap­peared to be at least ten empty, un­re­served seats. He was spot­ted again a minute later as he walked through coach F, past nu­mer­ous seats that had reser­va­tion tick­ets but were empty.

Mr Cor­byn could then be seen walk­ing to the end of the train where he sat on the floor in a cor­ri­dor.

At 11.29am he filmed a short in­ter­view later pub­lished on the Labour-sup­port­ing Guardian news­pa­per web­site.

In it he said: ‘This is a prob­lem that many pas­sen­gers face ev­ery day, com­muters and long-dis­tance trav­ellers. To­day this train is com­pletely ram-packed.’

At 11.43am, Mr Cor­byn was caught on CCTV again, this time tak­ing a seat back in coach H – more than an hour be­fore the train made its first sched­uled stop in York.

A spokesman for Vir­gin Trains said: ‘We have to take is­sue with the idea that Mr Cor­byn wasn’t able to be seated on the ser­vice, as this clearly wasn’t the case.’

In a state­ment last night, a spokesman for Mr Cor­byn in­sisted he had not lied, say­ing: ‘When Jeremy boarded the train he was un­able to find un­re­served seats, so he sat with other pas­sen­gers in the cor­ri­dor who were also un­able to find a seat.

‘ Later in the jour­ney, seats be­came avail­able af­ter a fam­ily were up­graded to first class, and Jeremy and the team he was trav­el­ling with were of­fered the seats by a very help­ful mem­ber of staff.

‘Pas­sen­gers across Bri­tain will have been in sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions on over­crowded, ex­pen­sive trains. That is why our pol­icy to bring the trains back into pub­lic own­er­ship, as part of a plan to re­build and trans­form Bri­tain, is so pop­u­lar with pas­sen­gers and rail work­ers.’

A Labour source last night told the Guardian that Mr Cor­byn’s rec­ol­lec­tion was that there were no va­cant pairs of seats, and he wanted to sit next to his wife, Laura, for the jour­ney.

Some pas­sen­gers are said to have had their bags on seats.

The source said Mr Cor­byn re­jected the of­fer of a com­pli­men­tary up­grade to first class. Staff then up­graded a fam­ily to first class so Cor­byn and his team could take their seats.

Vir­gin Trains con­firmed that two pas­sen­gers were moved to first class so that Mr Cor­byn could sit next to his aide. A spokesman added: ‘We’d en­cour­age Jeremy to book ahead next time he trav­els with us, both to re­serve a seat and to en­sure he gets our low­est fares, and we look for­ward to wel­com­ing him on board again.’

Mr Cor­byn’s in­ter­view on the train floor was recorded by free­lance film-maker Yan­nis Mendez, who is mak­ing a doc­u­men­tary about his cam­paign to re­tain the Labour lead­er­ship.

His Twit­ter pro­file says he is a con­trib­u­tor to the Guardian. An ac­com­pa­ny­ing ar­ti­cle for the Guardian was writ­ten by Charles An­thony, a free­lance jour­nal­ist.

Mr An­thony, an out­spo­ken Cor­byn sup­porter, yes­ter­day leapt to the Labour leader’s de­fence, say­ing he had se­cured a seat only when other pas­sen­gers got off.

He posted a num­ber of mes­sages on so­cial me­dia in re­sponse to the Vir­gin state­ment sug­gest­ing the com­pany’s ‘clar­i­fi­ca­tion’ was po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated. He said: ‘Cor­byn wants to re­na­tion­alise their busi­ness. You do the math.’ Keren Har- ri­son, 45, chat­ted to the Labour leader when she saw him sit­ting on the floor and said staff had tried to help him.

Mrs Har­ri­son, who is not a sup­porter of the party, said: ‘I spoke to him and then the staff came over and said “We’ll try and find you some seats, sir”. I don’t know if they would have done it for any other pas­sen­ger – and off they went be­fore com­ing back and of­fer­ing him a seat in first class.’

In a jibe on Twit­ter, Mr Cor­byn’s lead­er­ship ri­val Owen Smith said: ‘My cam­paign re­mains on track. Proud to be gen­uinely stand­ing up for or­di­nary peo­ple.’

The in­con­ve­nient footage is un­likely to cost Mr Cor­byn the sup­port of mil­i­tant rail work­ers bring­ing mis­ery to mil­lions.

The RMT union, which was in the wilder­ness for years un­der New Labour, is now firmly back­ing his stance on na­tion­al­i­sa­tion and the right to strike.

It is at the cen­tre of the chaos on the South­ern net­work, where pas­sen­gers have been sub­jected to strikes and dis­rup­tion for months.

The sit­u­a­tion is so bad some com­muters have lost their jobs be­cause they can­not get to work on time.

Ear­lier this month, Mr Cor­byn gave his back­ing to the strik­ing work­ers, who are locked in a bit­ter dis­pute over the role of con­duc­tors.

South­ern pas­sen­gers took to so­cial me­dia to mock Mr Cor­byn, one say­ing: ‘You should have trav­elled with South­ern Trains. Although there’s not even enough space to sit on the floor on them.’

‘Staff tried to help him’

Pose: Jeremy Cor­byn sits on the floor of a Lon­don to New­cas­tle train in his clip, say­ing no seats were free and cit­ing crowd­ing as a rea­son for re­na­tion­al­is­ing the rail­ways, in­set His video claim...

...and the CCTV re­al­ity 11.07 AM: Mr Cor­byn, cir­cled, is seen on Vir­gin Trains CCTV ap­par­ently walk­ing past rows of empty, un­re­served seats in coach H min­utes be­fore he was filmed on the floor

11.08 AM: Mr Cor­byn’s face is clearly vis­i­ble as he walks past more empty seats in coach F, which Vir­gin says were re­served, but only for later in the train’s jour­ney to New­cas­tle

11.43 AM: The train firm’s footage ap­pears to show the Labour leader re­turn­ing to coach H and sit­ting down in one of the empty seats af­ter he fin­ished mak­ing his video

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