Media coverage of Jeremy Corbyn is the 'worst' any politician has received, John McDonnell claims

Shadow Chancellor complains that the only media outlet to support the Labour leadership since September had been the socialist Morning Star newspaper

Matt Dathan
Online political reporter
@matt_dathan
Monday 11 January 2016 15:22
comments
Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, his Shadow Chancellor and close friend
Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, his Shadow Chancellor and close friend

The media’s coverage of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour party has been the “worst” any politician has received, John McDonnell has said.

The Shadow Chancellor told the Politics.co.uk website that the way broadcasters and the press had treated the Labour leader was “appalling” and complained that the only media outlet to support Mr Corbyn since September had been the Morning Star, the socialist newspaper.

"Even the liberal left Guardian opposed us and undermined us at every opportunity,” Mr McDonnell, a long-standing friend of Mr Corbyn, said.

He said the coverage of the Labour leader was an example of the “establishment using its power in the media to try and destroy an individual and what he stands for”.

But Mr McDonnell insisted it would not succeed in weakening support for his and Mr Corbyn’s policies and instead predicted it would have the opposite effect.

"It's proved to be counterproductive because the more attacks on Jeremy, the more members we recruit,” Mr McDonnell said, pointing to claims by the party that its membership has more than doubled since the General Election. It has not said how many have left, however.

Labour made an official complaint to the BBC over the on-air resignation of junior minister Stephen Doughty last week.

The party accused the Daily Politics Show of orchestrating the resignation to maximise its “political impact” on the day Mr Corbyn completed his contentious reshuffle, in which he removed internal critics and promoted left-wing supporters.

The editor of the programme, Robbie Gibb, said the allegation was “simply not the case”.

In a speech in Northampton on Monday, Mr McDonnell said: "It can sound like we're paranoid but the reality is that the treatment Jeremy has had across the media has been appalling,"

"It's the worst any politician has been treated. The problem with the BBC and other broadcasters is that because of the cut backs that have gone on with journalists, they are taking their stories from newspapers rather than investigating and reporting for themselves and therefore the bias of the press infects the broadcast media too.”

Mr McDonnell said Mr Corbyn would do more live interviews as this was the best way of communicating directly to voters, who he said were surprised that he did not have “two heads or horns”, unlike conventional politicians.

The Shadow Chancellor dismissed the growing number of rebels in his party, insisting there were just “a small handful of them that can’t accept Jeremy’s leadership but we will bring them back on board”.

Separately, Mr McDonnell came under fire on Monday over reports suggesting he will not kneel before the Queen when he joins the Privy Council next month.

The shadow chancellor will follow in the footsteps of the Labour leader and remain standing when he meets the monarch, the Daily Telegraph reported.

A Labour source said Mr McDonnell will "abide by the rules" when he attends his first meeting early next month, explaining: "Kneeling is no longer required.

A credit to Politics.co.uk was added to this article after publication

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments