Labour aide Seumas Milne claims there is a mole in Jeremy Corbyn's office

Posted On: 
1st June 2016

One of Jeremy Corbyn's closest aides has sensationally claimed there is a mole in the Labour leader's office leaking his Prime Minister's Questions attack lines.

Jeremy Corbyn took aim at the BBC and Guardian writer Jonathan Freeland.
Vice News

Seumas Milne, Labour's head of communications and strategy, makes the incendiary accusation in a new fly-on-the-wall documentary.

The 30-minute film, made by Vice News, gives a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse of life for Mr Corbyn since he became leader last September.

Corbyn supporters rage at BBC over on air Labour resignation

Jeremy Corbyn: Golden circle of media establishment obsessed with leadership talk

John McDonnell: Media treatment of Corbyn is appalling

It shows Mr Milne's frustrations that one of the leader's inner circle is leaking their PMQs preparations before his weekly Commons joust with David Cameron - giving the Prime Minister an "advantage".

"It leaked from that meeting," he says. "It’s very annoying because it only happens about a third of the time but it obviously gives them a little bit of extra time.

“Whenever there is a leak it gives them that advantage. It gives them the advantage on TV as well.”

The film also lays bare Mr Corbyn's anger at the media's coverage of the Labour party since he became leader, and accusing the BBC of being “obsessed with trying to damage” him.

Mr Corbyn singles out Guardian writer Jonathan Freedland, who had written a piece about the spate of Labour members being suspended after anti-Semitic remarks came to light.

He said Mr Freeland was guilty of “utterly disgusting subliminal nastiness”, adding: “He seems kind of obsessed with me...

“The one thing I’ve learnt over the past six months or so is how shallow, facile and ill-informed many of the supposedly well-informed major commentators are in our media. They shape a debate that is baseless and narrow.”

Mr Corbyn also hit out at the BBC for promoting the narrative that Labour needed to do better in May’s local elections – when it lost fewer than 20 council seats – to show it was on track to win the next general election.

“There is not one story on any election anywhere in the UK that the BBC will not spin into a problem for me,” he says.

“They are obsessed with trying to damage the leadership of the Labour party and unfortunately there are people in the Labour party who play into that.”

On the often thorny relationship with his fellow Labour MPs, Mr Corbyn says: “I fully appreciate that I was elected here on a mandate from the membership and supporters of the party. I did not receive support from very large numbers of members of the Parliamentary Labour party.

“However, I have to say the whole atmosphere in the Parliamentary Labour Party, despite what the media report, has completely changed. There are some that are harder fish to catch.”

The film also shows Mr Corbyn’s team looking at journalists’ assessments of his performance at Prime Minister’s Questions.

When the New Statesman’s George Eaton is positive, policy director Andrew Fisher replies: “George Eaton is the worst judge of anything.” When Huffington Post’s Paul Waugh says Mr Corbyn did well, Mr Fisher said: “Oh, well, that’s good.”