Jeremy Corbyn Held A Press Conference With UB40 And It Was All Rather Bizarre

Only one of the UB40s is backing Corbyn.
<strong>One of the UB40s and Jeremy Corbyn</strong>
One of the UB40s and Jeremy Corbyn
David Mirzoeff/PA Wire

Jeremy Corbyn held a press conference with reggae rock group UB40 on Tuesday in what was presumably meant to advertise his credentials to be re-elected Labour leader and, by extension, to be prime minister.

While that sinks in, here are some tweets that show how bizarre the event really was.

Mick Hucknall, who has criticised Corbyn before, got things going by pointing out the fact there are two UB40s reflected the current, bitter division in Labour during this leadership contest.

The hashtag for the event also inspired little confidence, given the term UB40 originally referred to unemployment benefits.

UB40 said Corbyn had “inspired a new generation of young voters”, which seemed a odd for a band that was founded in the late seventies.

Corbyn also suggested politicians could learn “teamwork” from bands, apparently forgetting that there were two UB40s because the band had split after a disagreement in 2008.

Subjects Corbyn and the band discussed included Romanian folk music, museums being free and why Britain was co creative.

Corbyn began to ask the band questions, before any journalists were asked to do the same, as if he were interviewing them on his own radio show where the only audience was journalists who were simultaneously enraptured and baffled.

The event threatened to surpass Ed Balls’ turn on Strictly Come Dancing as the music-political event of the year but Corbyn gave a rather damp response to the question of whether he might be joining the ex-Shadow Chancellor.

It wasn’t all levity. Tuesday afternoon also brought news that prominent Labour MP Keith Vaz would resign as chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee after being apparently filmed using prostitutes while the committee investigates the sale of sex.

With UB40 looking on, Corbyn was asked whether Vaz would be allowed to stay on the party’s governing National Executive Committee or keep the Labour whip.

The surrealism didn’t end with the event. If the uninitiated were unaware there were actually two UB40s, they found out when the other one refused to endorse Corbyn.

Corbyn can be proud to at least have the endorsement of the band that uses the name UB40.

The other group, which is called UB40 featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue, said it supported Labour but declined to back Corbyn, The Guardian reported.

People noted the band’s split mirrored the bitter civil war in the Labour Party at the moment, which has raised the prospect of it splitting after Corbyn’s likely re-election as leader.

And yet for all its absurdity, #UB4Corbyn had people wondering which politicians would try and follow Corbyn’s example.