POLITICS
24/09/2015 16:12 BST | Updated 25/09/2015 14:59 BST

Jeremy Corbyn Says Piggate Scandal Risks Distracting From Real Issues And World Peace

ASSOCIATED PRESS
British lawmaker Jeremy Corbyn addressing a meeting during his election campaign for the leadership of the British Labour Party in Ealing, west London, Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Jeremy Corbyn has today spoken out for the first time since the infamous 'piggate' scandal emerged this week, saying the furore risked overshadowing "real issues".

The newly elected Labour leader blasted media outlets for carrying claims about David Cameron's university frolics that circulated among newspapers and on social media, criticising journalists for having become obsessed with "personality politics".

He claimed this week's treatment of the accusations had diminished the scrutiny afforded to other more important topics.

“The media treatment of any politician unsubstantiated allegations, be it David Cameron, me or anyone else is wrong," Corbyn told ITV News on Thursday.

"Too much of our media is obsessed with personality politics, obsessed with personal criticism of politicians and therefore detracting from very serious issues around housing, living standards, jobs or world peace."

Some voiced agreement earlier in the week, flagging reports they claimed received lackluster coverage because of 'piggate', including that the Chancellor was planning to scrap free school meals for some children.

Corbyn raised the issue in his interview today, and spoke frankly to ITV about his much-anticipated leader's speech at Labour's upcoming Autumn conference.

He recalled having spoken at 100 events during this Summer's battle to succeed Ed Miliband, but admitted an address to hundreds of supporters, millions of people and all the country's media would be "slightly different".

"At one level you’re appealing to your own party and trying to give a message and direction to your own party and at the other you’re trying to deal with political debate and appeal to wider national and international audience - very interesting challenge.

jeremy corbyn

Corbyn was elected Labour leader earlier in September

"I have to say I have never used an autocue in my life before. It's an interesting challenge. I have tried it out. It's interesting.

The Islington MP also lambasted the Conservatives proposed benefit cap, criticising the welfare payment limit for hitting those hardest in densely-packed inner-cities with high rents and living costs.

"My argument is that we should be controlling the rents," he said. "The government has forced all councils and housing associations to reduce their rents by 1% but are completely unprepared to countenance controlling private sector rents."

"The effect on communities and children and social cleansing of central London is huge and the government has to address that.”

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