Jeremy Corbyn tends to avoid interviews, and we were reminded why this morning. Speaking to Radio 4’s Today programme, he suggested that Britain should be the first free country with a ‘maximum earnings limit’, portrayed immigration as a kind of corporatist scam where Poles and Czechs are ‘grotesquely’ exploited (by working on a minimum wage vastly higher than that of their home country), declared solidarity with ‘socialists’ in Europe over this issue and defiantly proclaimed that he would go on and on as leader. His recent re-election as party leader, he said, was ‘a mandate to take the campaign to every part of the country – that’s what I’m going to be doing, and I’m going to enjoy doing it.’
He is supposed to say in a speech later that Labour is ‘not wedded to freedom of movement for EU citizens as a point of principle’ but backed away from that in the interview suggesting that he supports freedom of movement but is simply against the ‘exploitation’. By which he seems to mean the hiring of these workers and spoke about employment agencies as if they were gangmasters who keep workers in deplorable conditions.
He said the party was considering a high earnings cap, but when provoked admitted that his own mind was made up (‘I would like to see a maximum earnings limit, quite honestly’). We have to stop income inequality in Britain rising, he said (it stopped rising 25 years ago).
Here’s the interview in full:
And listen to Coffee House Shots for more analysis, as I’m joined by Isabel Hardman and James Forsyth to discuss: