POLITICS

Jeremy Corbyn's Andrew Marr Interview Branded 'Disgraceful' By Angry John Prescott

17/01/2016 14:32 GMT | Updated 20/01/2016 11:59 GMT
BBC

Former deputy prime minister John Prescott has called Andrew Marr's wide-ranging interview with Jeremy Corbyn "disgraceful".

The interview saw the Labour leader moot repealing an anti-strike law passed under Thatcher, and suggesting Trident submarines could sail without carrying the nuclear warheads, as his rebellious party heads for a showdown over the nuclear deterrent.

But Prescott claimed Marr deliberately asked questions to make the interview appeal to newspaper editors, placing his show's chance of getting press coverage above the "interests of the public".

Marr posed questions to Corbyn on the Falkland Islands and flying pickets, which Prescott claims Marr "hopes will be in tomorrow's Daily Mail".

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"Forget Deutschland '83 - today's Corbyn interview was more Marr '82," Prescott posted on TwitLonger. "Jeremy has started a debate about what kind of country we want to live in and what our priorities should be.

"All journalists should recognise the public wants to here [sic] what Labour's policies are for today. Not hypothetical positions on the issues of yesterday."

"So please can TV interviewers put the interests of the public first, not those of newspaper editors. If Marr wants to make headlines in the Daily Mail he should go and join them."

He said the Labour leader was "leading debate by putting housing, social justice and equality right at the heart of our politics".

Prescott's post in full

I thought Andrew Marr's interview this morning with Jeremy Corbyn was a disgrace.

Here's someone who is leading the debate by putting housing, social justice and equality right at the heart of our politics.

And how did Marr respond? By asking questions to get answers he hopes will be in tomorrow's Daily Mail.

Why did he ask about Flying Pickets and the Falkland Islands? Are these really the big issues of today?

Forget Deutschland '83 - today's Corbyn interview was more Marr '82.

Jeremy has started a debate about what kind of country we want to live in and what our priorities should be.

All journalists should recognise the public wants to here [sic] what Labour's policies are for today. Not hypothetical positions on the issues of yesterday.

So please can TV interviewers put the interests of the public first, not those of newspaper editors.

If Marr wants to make headlines in the Daily Mail he should go and join them.

Others claimed Marr had focussed on older issues at the expense of current ones.

Chris Bryant, Labour MP and Corbyn's Shadow Commons Leader, tweeted:

Channel 4 News Economic Editor Paul Mason agreed.

But others disagreed.

The Sun's Steve Hawkes said Corbyn had the option of not answering questions he deemed irrelevant.

Marr show editor Rob Burley tweeted that Corbyn's team thought the questions were "fair".

Some of the questions, including on the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands and strikes, may have appeared outdated but had topical aspects.

This week saw junior doctors hold a 24-hour strike, the first in 40 years, over new contracts. In November, Argentina elected Mauricio Macri president, prompting questions about how he would handle the Falkland Islands, which are a British territory but many Argentinians believe the islands should belong to them.

During the Marr interview, Corbyn appeared open to doing a deal with Argentina over the control of the Falklands - giving people living on the islands a say, but not a veto.

CORRECTION: This story originally said Marr asked Corbyn about 'a capella group The Flying Pickets'. He actually asked about flying pickets, people who travel to attend pickets during strikes. In our defence, both are associated with the 1980s.