Rebecca Long Bailey demonstrates a novel approach to media relations

Written by David Singleton on 26 February 2018 in Diary

The shadow business secretary hosted a question and answer session with top hacks.

Over the years, many politicians have placed a premium on personally getting to know the media's leading lights.

Tony Blair famously annoyed fellow Labour party figures in 1995 when he accepted an invitation from Rupert Murdoch to fly out to Australia to address News Corporation conference.  

When Downing Street first published David Cameron’s meetings with media proprietors and journalists in 2011, a host of big journalistic beasts were included.  The data showed that the then prime minister had met with Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks of News International, Paul Dacre of the Daily Mail, Alan Rusbridger of The Guardian, James Harding of The Times, Tony Gallagher of The Telegraph, Dominic Mohan of The Sun, Colin Myler of News of the World, Lionel Barber of the FT, Geordie Greig of the Evening Standard and more.

But Jeremy Corbyn has long made it clear that he would rather keep the dreaded MSM at arm's length - and senior Labour politicians are happy to oblige.

Or at least that was the impression given by Rebecca Long Bailey when she hosted a question and answer session with lobby journalists after the Labour leader’s Brexit speech.

The shadow business secretary raised a few eyebrows when she appeared not to recognise various senior hacks.

So respected Channel 4 News political editor Gary Gibbon was described merely as "the man with the tie and glasses" when he was called to ask a question.

And intrepid Guardian political editor Anushka Asthana was reduced to the status of "the woman in the blue dress".

But the cheery Long Bailey did a least make an attempt to win over highly-regarded Newsnight political editor Nick Watt – by referring to him as the man with the blue tie and "the lovely blue jumper".




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