This morning Jeremy Corbyn told Radio 4’s Women’s Hour that a thread on Mumsnet in which he was described by one user as being ‘attractive in a world weary old sea dog sort of way’ was ‘the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever heard’.
So it must have been with some trepidation that Corbyn agreed to take part in a Mumsnet Q&A this lunchtime alongside his Labour leadership rival Liz Kendall. Would the lusty online mothers be able to put their amorous feelings to one side and ask a sensible question?
The chat began with Corbyn answering a question regarding whether he has what it takes to handle the media scrutiny a party leader often attracts:
‘It’s a bad [sic] sad when so much media are only capable of concentrating on personal and often abusive comments, and obviously devalues the whole political process. I’m someone that sleeps easy and is happy to look at myself in the mirror each morning. I think having a balance in life between work and other things is important and actually makes one better as a public representative.’
He then went on to answer why his fellow Labour MPs should be loyal to him, given that he himself has a reputation for being a party rebel:
Fizzicles: You’ve defied the whip many many times. Would you expect loyalty from your parliamentary colleagues and do you think your history as a rebel would hinder this?
Jeremy Corbyn: If I’m elected leader of the party I would seek to be as broad and inclusive as possible, consistent with the economic, social and international directions I wish the party to follow, and would encourage discussion and debate. The best leaders encourage people rather than instruct them. It’s interesting you describe me as a rebel, whereas I would defend my parliamentary voting record as being one of defending civil liberties and constantly in search of economic justice for the people of this country.
While the mums managed to avoid any amorous questions, one male user did at least get onto the topic of his appearance:
Joshpettitt: I have a rare skin condition – allergic to cotton. It’s a right pain to wear work shirts. Just wondered if you suffered from the same affliction and if so where do you get your endless supply of handy vests from?
Jeremy Corbyn: No I don’t suffer from that condition but I know people who do, and sometimes allergies are provoked by diet, and sometimes by the material of clothing we wear. Raw untreated cotton is least harsh on the skin I believe. I buy my vests on Holloway Rd, N7 – on a market stall!
With Corbyn managing to show that he supports his local community rather than big brands, he is likely to attract even more lefty fans. Meanwhile, Liz Kendall did her best to stay in the leadership race, answering questions on gender equality. Happily a user aptly titled ‘DoesItReallyMatter’ put to her the Mumsnet biscuit question that Gordon Brown famously had to take a break before answering back in 2009:
DoesItReallyMatter: I’ll ask the same question that I asked Yvette. Can you please tell us what is your favourite biscuit. Thank you.
Liz Kendall: I’m more into savoury snacks. Currently popcorn.
However, while Kendall did manage to do a better job than Brown, she did fail to answer a question from one user on whether Corbyn is ‘very sexy’.
Corbyn on the other hand appeared to be lost for words when it came to a user asking whether he would let George Galloway back into Labour:
Given that Mr S reported only this morning how Galloway has said he hopes to ‘work closely’ with Corbyn should he be elected, it’s a topic Corbyn may well have to revisit sooner rather than later.