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Sunday shows round-up: Jeremy Corbyn – I’m not worried about Boris Johnson

28 July 2019

1:15 PM

28 July 2019

1:15 PM

Jeremy Corbyn – I’m not worried about Boris Johnson

Sophy Ridge travelled to Mansfield earlier in the week for an interview with the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. At the 2017 election, Labour lost Mansfield to the Conservatives after having held the seat for 94 years. Ridge asked Corbyn about how prepared the party was to win the Leave-voting Mansfield back, especially with a new Prime Minister taking the reins:

SR: Are you a bit worried about going up against Boris Johnson in an election?

JC: Not in the slightest. We’ll go out there and we’ll make our case… I don’t do personal, as far as I’m concerned the issues are too serious… We have to have a change of approach and it has to be about investment, it has to be about real opportunities for young people.

Labour ‘will do everything’ to prevent a no-deal Brexit

Labour had previously floated the possibility of calling a vote of no confidence in Boris Johnson’s government on the first full day of his administration. Ridge asked Corbyn if this was still on the cards. Corbyn hinted that it could be when Parliament returns from recess, but did not give any further specifics:

SR: When are you going to call a no confidence vote in the Prime Minister?

JC: Parliament goes back in September and it’s at that point we’ll look at the situation there, but it’s also up to the Prime Minister… We will do everything to prevent a no-deal exit and we’ll do everything to challenge this government.

Labour ‘will reopen talks’ with EU

Ridge pushed Corbyn for his personal views on the issue of whether the UK should remain in or leave the EU, but Corbyn remained non-committal, telling Ridge that ‘leadership comes from listening’.

JC: In the event of a no-deal Brexit, we will campaign to Remain… In the event of an election, we will reopen talks with the European Union…

SR: …Do you want to stay in the EU, or do you want to leave?

JC: [I want] investment, jobs, trade and equality – both in or out of the EU.

‘I was upset’ over anti-Semitism documentary

Ridge asked about the BBC’s recent Panorama documentary on anti-Semitism in the Labour party. Corbyn said that while he was unhappy to see the staffers feel the way they did, he also maintained that the documentary had not been a fair portrayal of events:

JC: I was upset at the feelings of some of our former staff. I was upset at the way the programme was characterised and presented, and we have put in some complaints… I have been clear there is no place for anti-Semitism… in my party.

There will be a female Labour leader one day

Jo Swinson’s election as leader of the Liberal Democrats leaves Labour as the only party represented in Westminster to have never had a female leader. Ridge asked if this was a cause for embarrassment:

JC: There will be a woman leader in the future, of that I’m very sure [but] I’m not going to get involved. [My] cabinet will be gender balanced. There will be an equality or majority in the cabinet who are women.

Jo Swinson – Corbyn is ‘pretty hopeless’

The aforementioned leader of the Lib Dems Jo Swinson came out all guns blazing in her interview, accusing her Labour opponent of ‘bottling it’ and declaring herself to be the real leader of the opposition to Boris Johnson’s new government:

JS: [Corbyn is] pretty hopeless, and I think there are millions of people across the country who are crying out for leadership, for opposition to Boris Johnson, and they are not getting it… He didn’t even say that he would oppose a Boris Brexit deal… I have to provide the real opposition that our country needs.

‘I’m hopeful’ there will be more defections

Ridge asked to what extent Swinson was courting discontented MPs from other parties and trying to entice them over to the Lib Dems. Swinson confirmed that this was a continuing operation, but denied reports that she was offering peerages to do so:

SR: Are you having talks with Conservative MPs about defecting to the Lib Dems?

JS: I’ve had conversations with people who are understandably very unhappy in their current parties… We’ve already seen Chuka Umunna join… I’m hopeful there will be more.


I will honour result of second referendum

Ridge asked Swinson about what she would do if the result of a so-called ‘people’s vote’ was another vote for Brexit:

SR: We know you’d campaign to remain in another vote, but would you honour the result of a second referendum?

JS: Yes. I wouldn’t change my view about what was right for the country, but yes, I would absolutely honour that result.

Nathalie Loiseau – Either May’s deal or no deal

The French MEP and close ally of President Macron Nathalie Loiseau told Ridge that contrary to the belief of the new government, there is still only one choice facing the UK:

NL: The House of Commons has a choice. There is the Withdrawal Agreement on the table which has been signed by the previous government, or there is no deal. Let me say it clearly – there is nothing in between… The European Parliament… would not ratify an agreement without a backstop.

EU could grant another extension

However, Loiseau said that there were a few circumstances in which another extension to Article 50 could be granted, if necessary:

NL: The only reasons to grant an extension can be if there is something serious happening. It can be another general election, it can be a ‘people’s vote’. It cannot be something else… But… if there is to be a general election, it [is reasonable] to wait for the results.

Rishi Sunak – We’re not planning an election

Ridge went on to speak to the new Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak. Sunak echoed Boris Johnson’s insistence that the Conservatives were not seeking an early election, despite considerable media speculation:

RS: That’s certainly not what we’re planning for, it’s certainly not our desire… What we need is a government what’s delivering finally on this pledge to get us out of the European Union.

We’re ‘turbo-charging preparations for no deal’

Sunak continued by saying that the government was now devoting the bulk of its energy to preparing for leaving the EU without a deal,  and hinted that the previous Chancellor had not been doing enough to mitigate the potential risks:

RS: We’re turbo-charging preparations for no deal. That is now the government’s number one priority… It is right that we prepare properly, with conviction, and importantly with the financial resources that the Treasury will now supply properly to all those departments.

We will borrow more to fund no deal 

However, Sunak paid tribute to Hammond in another respect, saying that careful economic management now allowed the government the ‘headroom’ to borrow extra money at low rates of interest:

RS: Borrowing now is at a 17 year low, and that’s been [because of the] very careful stewardship of the economy that we’ve had. The fiscal rules that… Philip Hammond set, we’ve actually met one year early… The reason we can do all that is because we have a strong economy.

Boris is committed to ‘root out’ Islamophobia

And finally, Sunak told Ridge that Boris Johnson is well placed to tackle prejudice against Muslims within the Conservative party after a YouGov poll found that 43 per cent of party members would prefer not to see a Muslim as Prime Minister:

RS: Boris Johnson… has committed to rooting out Islamophobia in the party wherever it exists…

SR: He committed to an investigation and now it’s all gone quiet.

RS: …Make no mistake, there is an ironclad commitment to rooting it out… I sit here as a proud British Asian, I am a Hindu… From a  personal perspective, I feel we’re in very good hands.


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