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Political

Jeremy Corbyn went on holiday during the European referendum campaign instead of fighting Brexit

When it came to the crunch, Jeremy Corbyn chose holiday over fighting for his constituents.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s claim that the “real fight starts now” after the Brexit vote has produced a blizzard of mocking messages about supposed ‘real fights’.

But above all, the rotten heart of his message is that when the fight was on during the European referendum campaign, long-term Eurosceptic Jeremy Corbyn was only a part-time participant in the “real fight” against Brexit. Instead of really fighting Brexit, as Phil Wilson, the chair of the Labour In campaign put sit: “He decided to go on holiday in the middle of the campaign.”

Politicians taking holidays? Perfectly reasonable, even desirable. But for a national party leader to go on holiday during a national election campaign? That’s just about unheard of in our modern democracy. (And by ‘just about’ I mean can’t find any examples from the last century but I guess there may be one somewhere I’ve missed. Even so, it’s remarkably unusual behaviour.)

Nor had Jeremy Corbyn been really putting his back into it before he took his holiday during the referendum campaign:

His EU planning diary [for the referendum campaign] … was ‘light’ on EU events. MPs felt there were days where Corbyn did nothing at all on the campaign, while Cameron was out on the stump nearly every single day. Some were surprised he took a holiday in the middle of the campaign itself.

Even when he wasn’t on holiday during the referendum campaign, Corbyn’s efforts were very problematic:

Jeremy Corbyn’s close allies undermined and even “sabotaged” Labour’s campaign to keep the UK in the European Union, party sources have claimed…

Pro-EU lines in Corbyn speeches were cut, his diary was scheduled to avoid Labour In events and any attempts to work with Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson and Gordon Brown were overruled.

Furious In campaigners lashed out, claiming that the party leaders’ diary was deliberately light on pro-EU events and that he refused to campaign actively until the very final stages of the Brexit debate…

Corbyn’s first speech on the EU was written by Andrew Fisher, but it immediately caused concerns within his own office because it contained more criticism than praise for the EU. Some insiders strongly deny Fisher is ‘anti-EU’ in any way.

But focus groups at the start of the campaign had shown that voters felt Corbyn’s speeches on Europe looked like he was being told to back the Remain case rather than really believing it.

Here is a selection of those other tweets in response to Corbyn’s belated ‘real fight starts too late’ tweet:

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