Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has a famously testy relationship with the BBC. Events earlier today won’t have improved things when the Corbyn’s car ran over the foot of BBC Cameraman Giles Wooltorton.
Corbyn was arriving to discuss the Labour manifesto when his driver applied the break. Laura Kuenssberg, who has a reputation for backing the Labour leader into a corner, rushed to the aide of her colleague. She was no doubt planning to ask Corbyn if he accepted that Theresa May was a ‘shoe-in’ on June 8.
Critics of the leader of the opposition were quick to put the boot in on-line. Labour will no doubt be issuing a statement later to heal the wounds. Cameraman Giles was taken to hospital where he is said to be strong and stable.
The front pages and the broadcast bulletins have been awash with news of the leaked Labour election manifesto. It wasn’t leaked to just one news organisation it went to all of them. It was also leaked in a way designed to make the morning bulletins and the national press. You need media skills for that.
The blame has been levelled at disgruntled Labour party staff who have remained unhappy with Jeremy Corbyn. It had to come from near the centre because not many people had access to the draft. There was a Clause V meeting scheduled for 10am today to discuss the launch of the document in a week’s time. It’s a meeting attended by the party’s most senior figures, including the deputy leader, Tom Watson and all of the shadow cabinet. They are joined by the Labour NEC and selected MPs, trade unionists and some councillors. It’s said that all those attending would receive a draft at the meeting, so many or most won’t even have seen it.
Yesterday Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell revealed a platform policy to scrap university tuition fees. The Shadow Education Secretary also hinted at the initiative. Interesting timing in retrospect.
The leak has gained more media coverage than a conventional launch. Labour’s election chair Andrew Gwynne (pictured) just happened to be in the BBC Radio 4 Today studio for an 8am interview. During the interview the Manchester based politician pleaded that the 10am Clause V meeting was “the sole reason why I’m down in London”. I’d have booked a later train.