Jeremy Corbyn 'hopes' Bernie Sanders will endorse him during UK visit next month

Labour leader says he has 'a lot of time' for veteran senator and reveals links between their campaign teams

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Indy Politics

Jeremy Corbyn is hoping he will be endorsed by Bernie Sanders when the veteran US senator visits the UK days before the 8 June general election.

Mr Sanders is planning a whistle-stop tour of the UK to help promote his book and will speak at events in Cambridge, Oxford, south London and Bristol, as well as at the Hay Festival.

Mr Corbyn said he was hoping the former Democratic presidential nominee who was eventually beaten by Hillary Clinton, would give his support to Labour during the visit. 

Asked by The Guardian whether he was expecting Mr Sanders to endorse him, the Labour leader replied: “I can’t say. I hope he will. I think he probably will, actually. But we mustn’t predict these things.”

Members of the campaign team that helped propel Mr Sanders from relative obscurity to international prominence are now believed to be helping Labour in its quest for victory on 8 June. 

“We are in touch with Bernie’s team,” Mr Corbyn said. “They are over here helping us. We also, during the leadership campaign, looked at a lot of their campaigning methods and again some people came over and gave us advice.” 

“I think Bernie Sanders ran an incredible campaign and it had a massive effect”, he added. “Who would have thought that in 2017 somebody self-describing themselves as a socialist would get within a whisker of winning the Democratic nomination and, had he been the candidate, who knows, who knows. 

“We will never know the answer to that question. But what a formidable guy. I have a lot of time for him.”

Mr Corbyn will be hoping to replicate some of Mr Sanders’ success during the presidential race.

The maverick socialist senator was considered a rank outsider but ended up winning widespread support, and 13 million votes, with his anti-establishment message.

Mr Sanders could provoke family tensions should he endorse Labour.

His brother, Larry, is the Green Party’s health spokesperson and its parliamentary candidate in the Oxford East constituency.

While some members of Mr Sanders’ campaign team are in the UK helping Labour, others played down any comparison between the senator and Mr Corbyn. 

“The obvious parallels are in political orientation but I see them as different figures”, Tad Devine, the chief strategist on the Sanders campaign, told The Guardian.

“Bernie Sanders had a great ability to connect with people at a basic level. People connected with him. Jeremy Corbyn does not strike me as someone who makes that kind of connection. I think Hillary Clinton did not make that kind of connection.”