A spokesperson for Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign team has refuted claims by Virgin owner Sir Richard Branson that the Labour leader lied about a train being “ram-packed”, insisting that Corbyn was speaking literally and that said “aggressive and territorial” rams were simply “unseen” by CCTV.
The unlikely row between Corbyn, who is competition with Owen Jo…Smith for leadership of the party, and the balloon based tycoon, whose beard is arguably superior, erupted yesterday when previous footage showing the venerable MP sitting on the floor of a busy train was challenged by the company owner, implying that Corbyn was orchestrating a publicity stunt.
In the original video, which was published by The Guardian last week, Corbyn can be heard saying: “This is a problem many passengers face every day. This train is completely ram-packed. The staff are absolutely brilliant, working really hard to help everybody, making sure there are lots of seats. The reality is there are not enough trains – and they’re also incredibly expensive. Too expensive, and too many of them, and recent data shows a worrying rise in our climate.”
But in response Virgin-owner Sir Richard tweeted links to CCTV footage which shows Corbyn walking past several unreserved seats and an empty bed as he makes his way to a spacious but possibly urine-soaked resting point on the floor, as well as showing a woman holding a banana in a potential hate crime.
Despite this appearing to indicate dishonesty or at the very least confusion from the self-professed socialist dreamweaver, Corbyn’s campaign team have moved quickly to deny Branson’s claims and explain their leader’s actions, which they say were “both honourable and sort of poignant”.
Dave Marmite, Corbyn’s Public Relations adviser, explained in a statement that: “Jeremy’s claims were quite literal; the carriage was full of actual rams who became disgruntled with the conditions and were visibly showing aggression. You just can’t see them in the CCTV because they’re behind the backs of chairs, mainly because a lot of them were ram lambs. Rambs, if you will.
“Whether this opens up a whole new issue over whether farmers should be allowed to use public trains to transport their livestock is for another day, St. Crispin’s Day maybe. But the fact is, they were taking up seats, as were a lot of children and midgets and cowering agoraphobic Geordies. There were also bags on seats, because everybody went to the toilet, which is itself another unavailable seat.
“I suspect Mr Branson knows this, or would do if his company were public, but I suppose keeping his trains private is priority one and thus he’ll say or do or release anything to help his cause, which is exactly why he’s part of the problem. I’d hate to see how many commuters are forced to stand or sit on the floor inside his space shuttles.”
Marmite added that regardless of the seating situation, Corbyn “should be applauded” for being willing to sit on the floor like a common vagabond musician, and said: “It highlights the plight of many commuters who find themselves without a chair to speak of, but always proudly maintain their statchair as dutiful citizens. It was a tough ordeal. In many ways, we’re all still on that train, even now.”
Corbyn’s rivals were less impressed however, with Angela Eagle claiming that this “charade” was “exactly why Labour need a new direction, one which isn’t due lies” and London Mayor Sadiq Khan saying: “Jeremy Corbyn not having a seat is something we should all get used to, y’know. Because. Y’know. Parliament. Get it? A seat in parliament. No seat. Yeah.”