POLITICS
15/01/2020 15:09 GMT | Updated 15/01/2020 15:38 GMT

Jeremy Corbyn Attacks ‘Racial Undertones’ Of Meghan Markle’s Media Treatment

Leader hits out as Labour MP Holly Lynch says duchess has been “hounded” by press.

Jeremy Corbyn shares Prince Harry’s concerns over the “racial undertones” of media coverage of his wife Meghan, the Labour Party has revealed.

The Labour leader sympathises with the royal couple over the “press intrusion” and the impact it had on their private life, his spokeswoman said.

Corbyn’s message of support for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex came as another Labour MP told HuffPost UK that Meghan had been “hounded” by the press.

Holly Lynch, who was personally phoned by the duchess last year to thank her for an open letter signed by 72 female MPs attacking “colonial undertones” of her treatment, said it was time to “call out” the media “frenzy” around the Sussexes’ decision to step away from the royal family.

Corbyn’s stance contrasts with that of Boris Johnson, who told the BBC on Tuesday “I don’t want to in any way deprecate the media” over their coverage of the couple.

The Labour leader’s spokesperson said: “Jeremy has commented in the past in relation to Prince Harry and Meghan, about press intrusion and its impact on people and their families and, to use Prince Harry’s words as well, the ‘racial undertones’ in relation to how the media has approached Meghan.”

PA Wire/PA Images
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has criticised the racial undertones of negative press coverage of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry

She said that from his own experience Corbyn “understands how press intrusion can have a negative impact on people and their private lives”.

In November 2016, Harry used a statement to attack the “wave of abuse and harassment” Meghan had faced from the media, citing the “racial undertones of comment pieces”.

Since the couple’s decision to break away from the royal family, the racist coverage she has been subjected to has been thrown into the spotlight once more, with many Black Britons and others expressing their anger.

Lynch, MP for Halifax, won support last year after she published an open letter of “solidarity” with Meghan.

MPs including Diane Abbott and Jess Phillips wrote to the duchess directly, saying they “stand with” her and relate to her experience of negative coverage.

In her new blog for HuffPost UK, Lynch said: “Once again it seems that there is a frenzy around the couple playing out in the papers which bears no resemblance to the reality of how the public feel about it, and it needs calling out.

“I don’t believe that in this day and age a woman who is successful in her own right, who marries the sixth in line to the throne, should be expected to stop working, become reliant on the tax-payer and cease overnight to have an opinion of her own.

“Elements of the press have hounded Meghan beyond anything which resembles reasonable. They thought it was entirely within the rules to print what they liked about her and her family.”

Lynch, a new mother like Meghan, added that female politicians shared the Duchess’s frustration with her treatment.

“Although our roles are very different to Meghan Markle’s, as women in public life, we share in her sense of frustration, that tearing women down has become all too easy.

“The language and tone used is becoming increasingly distasteful and often abusive. In the case of Meghan Markle, the fact that she is not British is often at the forefront of the narrative, and it’s been ugly.

“The contrast between the headlines on stories relating to the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex are stark and obvious and there can only be a limited number of reasons why this is.”