‘Why can’t you give an honest answer?’ Ridge loses temper at Corbyn dodging key questions

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell claimed Jeremy Corbyn would stand down as Labour leader if the party loses the next general election. Sky News host Sophy Ridge quizzed Mr Corbyn on the claims in an interview, to which the Labour leader accused her of asking a “hypothetical question”. Speaking on Ridge on Sunday, the Sky News presenter began: “I’m going to ask you directly, if you lose the next election, will you stand down as leader?”

Mr Corbyn replied: “We’re not expecting to lose the next election. It’s a hypothetical – “

Ms Ridge interjected: “Oh come on. John McDonnell gave an honest answer, so why can’t you?”

The Labour leader responded: “It’s a hypothetical question and it’s up to the members of our party to decide who the leader is.”

On whether Mr McDonnell is “right” and “speaks” for him, Mr Corbyn commented: “John gave an answer to an interview that he undertook. My answer is this: I’m leading this party to go into an election.

“We have hundreds of thousands of members determined to win that election. I’m utterly determined to get a message out there.

“It’s only Labour that’s going to end austerity and invest in a better future for this country, I want to lead the party to do that.”

On whether there are any “rising stars” for a future leader, Jeremy Corbyn said there are “lots” but he is “not in the business of ordaining people”. Mr Ridge then concluded the interview by saying: “Okay, nicely dodged. Thank you very much Mr Corbyn.”

The comments follow Mr McDonnell’s claims in an interview with former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell for GQ magazine.

The Shadow Chancellor said he “can’t see” how he or Mr Corbyn could continue to lead the party if they did not win the next general election.

He said: “I can’t see… I think it is the same for my own personal position, I can’t see so. What we’d do is as the tradition, which is have an election for a new leader.”

Mr McDonnell also insisted that Labour could “win a majority” in a general election.

It comes after the party has repeatedly blocked Boris Johnson’s attempts to call a general election.

The Shadow Chancellor said that his party would not strike any deals or form a coalition and if working as a minority government failed Labour would request an immediate return to the polls.


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He said: “I think we can win a majority, but if we go into a minority government situation, there will be no deals, we’ll just lay out our programme and they either support it or they don’t.

“If they don’t support it we’ll go back to the country and it will be interesting, if they did, to see how they argue against a real living wage, investment in public services, restoration of trade union rights, tackling climate change. How can they argue against that?”

Mr McDonnell added that it “doesn’t matter” whether a general election or a second Brexit referendum, which Labour supports, comes first.

On the next leader, Mr McDonnell said a woman should take over and suggested Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner as a possible successor to Mr Corbyn.

He said: “I’m still of the view now that whoever comes after Jeremy has got to be a woman.

“We’ve got to have a woman leader. If you look at the new youngsters that have come through, they are fantastic.

“There is a whole range of women. Angela Rayner… There is a whole range of women and it’s fantastic.”

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