Bernie Sanders says he is 'very impressed' by Jeremy Corbyn

The socialist US senator is visiting Britain

Jon Stone
Political Correspondent
Thursday 01 June 2017 22:46 BST
Bernie Sanders says he is 'very impressed' by Jeremy Corbyn

Former US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has said he is "very impressed" by Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour leader's willingness to talk about class issues.

The Vermont senator said there was "a real similarity" between himself and Mr Corbyn because of the way they had both tried to take on the establishment in their respective countries.

Both Mr Sanders and Mr Corbyn are long-time political outsiders who have been thrown into the mainstream in recent years on a wave of popular support.

Mr Sanders, who sits as an independent in the US Congress, ran against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for the US presidency. Ms Clinton triumphed in the primaries but eventually lost to Donald Trump.

Speaking at an event at the Brighton Festival, Mr Sanders was asked about his views on the Labour leader.

"I am aware of what Corbyn not only is doing now, but what we has done for the last several years," he said.

"What has impressed me – and there is a real similarity between what he has done and what I have done – is he has taken on the establishment of the Labour Party and he has gone to the grassroots and he has tried to transform that party and take on a lot of establishment opposition. That is exactly what I am trying to in the US with the Democratic party.

"I am also impressed by his willingness to talk about class issues. Too many people run away from the grotesque levels of income and wealth inequality that exist in the United States, that exist in the UK, and I believe we will never make the kinds of changes that we needs unless we take on this issue of income and wealth inequality and create an economy that works for all of us."

The US senator said British people did not need to be told how to vote and that his words of support were “not an endorsement”.

“I don’t think Jeremy Corbyn needs my advice, I think he’s doing quite well, nor do I think the people of the UK need my advice on who to vote for. I think they understand that,” he said.

“But let me just say that I have been very impressed by the work that Corbyn has done and the campaign that he is running and I wish him the very best.”

In a wide-ranging speech about the US and world's economic and social problems, Mr Sanders said it was the job of politicians to "combat oligarchy" and to create an economy "which meets the needs of middle class and working class".

"In the United States, as in Europe, we don’t need more austerity, we’ve had enough of that. We need to start investing in jobs for our people," he said, echoing Mr Corbyn's message.

"If we stand together and come forward with a progressive and human agenda we can transform this world. That must be our goal, that must be our mission, and if we stand together we can accomplish that."

Though Labour is still behind the Conservatives in the opinion polls it has closed the gap dramatically with just over one week to go. One prediction by pollster YouGov showed Mr Corbyn's Labour denying Theresa May a majority.

Match-up polling during the US primaries show Mr Sanders comfortably beating Donald Trump, though the pair never faced off at an election.

Mr Sanders' brother, Larry Sanders, is a candidate for the Green Party of England and Wales and the party's health spokesperson.

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