Jeremy Corbyn attempts to stop booing of journalists at Labour manifesto launch

'Journalism and journalists are intrinsic to a democracy and a free society', Labour leader tells supporters

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Jeremy Corbyn stepped in to defend members of the media after they were booed at Labour’s manifesto launch – but said his party was the victim of a biased press.  

The Labour leader asked activists and supporters to show “respect” to journalists during a question and answer session following his speech at the event in Bradford.

Boos began after Andy Bell, Channel 5’s political editor, asked a question about whether Mr Corbyn wanted to see immigration reduced.

They continued when the BBC’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg stood up to ask a question.

Many of Mr Corbyn's supporters have previously accused the corporation of being unfair in its coverage of the Labour leader. 

As the boos continued, Mr Corbyn interjected.

“No – please, please," he said. "Let’s have respect for everyone who wants to ask a question, including members of the media. By the way I’m a member of the National Union of Journalists.”

Answering Ms Kuenssberg’s question, which related to whether the Labour leader wanted to raise taxes and borrow more to fund spending, Mr Corbyn made a point of thanking her for asking it.

“Laura thanks very much for your question and thanks for the way you put it”, he said. 

Later, Jack Blanchard from the Daily Mirror was booed for asking why opinion polls suggest that voters do not like Mr Corbyn.

The Labour leader told supporters: “It’s all right. It’s not a cult of personality. Don’t worry about it.”

A later question from a Morning Star journalist about whether anything could be done about the “shockingly biased” media was met with raucous applause from the audience. 

Mr Corbyn replied: “You’ve noticed that some of the media are slightly biased against the Labour Party. This is sometimes said to be the case”.

Jeremy Corbyn unveils Labour manifesto's plans to raise taxes on corporations and highest earners

“Journalists and journalism, and free journalism and a free press, are intrinsic to a democracy and a free society”, he added. “I fully understand that.”

Mr Corbyn took the questions after giving a speech to launch his party’s 128-page manifesto. He outlined a number of pledges, many of which had already been leaked to the media last week. 

Key policies include introducing a living wage of £10 by 2020, scrapping tuition fees, guaranteeing the triple lock on pensions and building a million new homes.

Labour would also hire 10,000 more police officers, offer universal childcare for two to four-year-olds and scrap hospital car parking charges. 

“Our country will only work for the many not the few if opportunity is in the hands of the many”, Mr Corbyn said. “So our manifesto is a plan for everyone to have a fair chance to get on in life, because our country will only succeed when everyone succeeds.”

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