20/08/2018 23:41 BST | Updated 21/08/2018 16:26 BST

Jeremy Corbyn Says Labour Is Facing More Media Hostility 'Than Ever Before'

'Don’t be undermined by those who want to divide us.'

Roberto Ricciuti via Getty Images
Greek economist, academic and politician Yanis Varoufakis and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn attend a photocall during the annual Edinburgh International Book Festival at Charlotte Square Gardens on 20 August.

Jeremy Corbyn believes Labour is facing greater hostility from the media “than we’ve probably ever had before”.

The party leader was speaking at an event with Greek economist Yanis Varoufakis at the Edinburgh International Book Festival (EIBF) on Monday night, where an audience member asked if there was a fear that Labour was not getting nearer to power.

Corbyn said: “Labour has more members than we’ve ever had before, more activists than we’ve ever had before. We have greater hostility from the mainstream media than we’ve probably ever had before but I think we are in a strong position to keep people united around the agenda we put forward on social justice transformation, challenging and ending inequality in Britain and giving people hope of what can be achieved.”

Labour has been engulfed in recent weeks by an anti-Semitism scandal and just this week MP and close Corbyn ally, Chris Williamson, added to the party’s woes.

He said it was a “privilege” to meet and listen to a talk by a controversial pro-Assad blogger, who has previously described murdered MP Jo Cox as a “warmongering Al Qaeda advocate” and written that “Zionists rule France”. 

Corbyn and Varoufakis had earlier discussed a range of political and economic issues in a sold-out event titled “the resurgence of socialism”.

Corbyn said: “I think we have to have the confidence that we can deal with poverty, with unemployment, we can do better in the future, we can have a sustainable life for all of us and we can work together with others around the world who think the same.

“Our unity of purpose, of people – all over the world – is something that I think is getting stronger. Don’t be undermined by those who want to divide us, unite together around the kind of world we could create.

“We had a sniff of that in the last general election. I wish to God we had won the general election, I did everything I personally could to make sure we won that general election, but I tell you what – next time we’re going to do it even better and even bigger and what’s more we’re going to win it.”

Varoufakis was Greek finance minster in 2015 and has held a series of discussions at the EIBF.

He started by asking Corbyn about recent pressures on his leadership, to which Corbyn said: “I’m absolutely fine.

“There are pressures, of course, and there are abusive remarks that are made, but real pressure is when you can’t feed your children, real pressure is when you’re about to lose your home or working in an understaffed hospital.

“Political representatives have to absorb a lot of pressure but you’ve got to recognise real-life pressure that lots of people are under in a system that is grotesquely unfair.”