Corbyn has had a fraught relationship with the press as Labour leader, incurring a huge amount of condemnation in the press, while reports have been some of the most vocal critics and targets of Corbyn supporters who abuse his opponents online.
At the launch of his re-election bid in Salford, he said the papers had been “too busy” to cover a by-election victory where a Labour candidate had taken a seat from Ukip.
To huge applause, he said: “You won’t have read about it in any of the papers because none of them had any space to carry it whatsoever... There was a by-election in Thanet in which the Labour candidate took the seat from Ukip.”
Winning big in Thanet would be a major victory for Corbyn, whose critics say he cannot tempt people from the Tories or Ukip to vote Labour.
Thanet South was famously contested by Nigel Farage at last year’s General Election and he lost to the Tories. The seat was held by Labour before 2010.
So reporters rushed to establish what great triumph Corbyn was talking about.
Manchester Evening News’ Jennifer Williams, who was at the event, launched into action, trying to establish where Labour had apparently won big.
The victory Corbyn was, it turned out, referring to a by-election for a seat on Ramsgate Town Council. Birmingham Mail political editor Jonathan Walker posted the result.
Westminster journalists were quick to admit to neglecting to cover an election, in which 483 people (a 13.5% turnout) voted, for a town council.
It was also pointed out that Labour failed to beat Ukip in a by-election for the larger, more powerful Thanet District Council on July 1.
In her write up of the Salford event, Williams said: “On the face of it it is the stuff of farce, yet again. To anyone with a grasp of politics - and perhaps that is key here - clearly that win means absolutely nothing.
“To anyone with a glancing understanding of news, a parish council election is local news, really really local news.”
Still, Corbyn’s comment did attract some attention to Penny Newman’s victory.
Someone suggested that she could now be in line for a major promotion, given Corbyn’s lack of friends in parliament.
We’ll leave the last word to South Thanet Labour, who put together a video montage of Newman’s campaign to celebrate her win.
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