Jeremy Corbyn savaged for snubbing 'biased' Guardian, Mirror and New Statesman debates

Posted On: 
18th August 2016

Jeremy Corbyn has been savaged by Labour MPs for refusing to take part in debates organised by left-leaning media organisations he thinks are biased against him.

Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith at a BBC Labour leadership hustings yesterday
Credit: 
PA Images

According to leaked emails, Mr Corbyn refused to take part in hustings hosted by The New Statesman, The Guardian and The Mirror out of concerns they will not give him a fair hearing.

In one message seen by Huffington Post UK, his leadership campaign director Jon Lansman also listed Channel 4 among media outlets which “can’t be regarded as impartial hosts or moderators”.

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Furious Labour MPs tonight lined up to condemn Mr Corbyn, accusing him of "paranoia" and of having no interest in winning back floating voters.

The correspondence forms part of negotiations between Labour HQ and the Jeremy For Labour campaign about how hustings during his leadership contest with Owen Smith should be organised.

The email from Mr Lansman, which was sent on Tuesday, reads: “We are deeply concerned that some of those media organisations or their leading presenters have taken partisan positions against Jeremy’s leadership or campaign, and therefore can’t be regarded as impartial hosts or moderators…

“On the basis of the point made above, we would not be prepared to take part in hustings debates hosted by the Mirror, New Statesman, Guardian or Channel Four.

“We are of course prepared to do interviews or audience events with all these organisations, as we have done in the past.

“We note that the next proposed event is Channel 4 and clearly in the light of the comments above this is not something which we can support.”

PARANOIA

Furious Labour MP John Woodcock told PoliticsHome: “This latest paranoia from Jeremy Corbyn has alarming parallels to Donald Trump's war against the media in the US. 

“If you are buried so deep in the bunker that you think the Guardian, Mirror, New Statesman and Channel Four are part of the right wing conspiracy against you, you clearly have no intention of trying to get broad support from the wider public."

The Barrow and Furness MP added: “Mr Corbyn's list of acceptable outlets now stretches little beyond The Morning Star and a few dodgy websites with questionable funding sources - he and Donald Trump should start a transatlantic anti-media self-help group."

Middlesbrough South MP Tom Blenkinsop told PoliticsHome Mr Corbyn was "running away from the party, the electorate, the country and reality".

He added: "What the party and country need is a leader brave enough to take tough decisions and lead from the front.

"Corbyn can't even hide at the back with any degree of conviction."

Labour MP Jamie Reed expressed his astonishment on Twitter at Mr Corbyn's refusal to engage with The Mirror:

Speaking to PoliticsHome, Mr Reed added: "It's a depressing sign when the leader of the Labour party declares that he doesn't want to engage with millions of Britons who don't buy newspapers he approves of.

"It's a horrible message: if you don't agree you will be ignored. It's an anti-democratic, myopic impulse and suggests he has no interest in winning back those millions of Labour voters who are leaving us because of Jeremy. And on another level, it's both naive and regrettably childish. Yet another own goal by a man unfortunately unfit for the office he holds."

GURU-MURTHY ROW

Channel 4 News presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy had a run-in with Mr Corbyn last year after he quizzed the Labour leader on his describing Hamas and Hezbollah as “friends”.

Mr Corbyn accused the presenter of “tabloid journalism” and exploded after being interrupted, demanding he be left to finish his point.

A spokesman for Mr Corbyn's campaign failed to comment by the time of publication.