Corbyn takes on audience member who opposes his tax rises
‘Are you happy that so many of our children are going to school hungry?’
Two years ago, Ed Miliband turned up to a key general election interview armed with a cheesy soundbite designed to underline his leadership credentials.
He told Jeremy Paxman: "Am I tough enus? Hell yes I’m tough enough!"
It was a poor line to start with but to make matters worse the then Labour leader fluffed the delivery.
There were no such problems for Miliband’s successor as he faced Paxman on Monday evening in the Channel 4 News / Sky News ‘Battle for Number 10’ programme.
Corbyn avoided dodgy soundbites and emerged largely unscathed from his grilling by Jeremy Paxman. At times he even appeared to thrive.
After Paxman asked why there was nothing about abolishing the monarchy in the Labour manifesto, arch-republican Corbyn was applauded for his cool, calm and succinct response: "There’s nothing in there because we’re not going to do it."
And when Paxman tried to press Corbyn on why his ideas such as nationalising banks failed to make it the manifesto, Corbyn suggested that Paxman didn’t understand how a manifesto is written. "I am not a dictator," he told the presenter.
Corbyn faced a trickier time when quizzed about the IRA, Osama bin Laden and Trident - but there were no killer blows by Paxman.
Earlier on, Corbyn looked in his element when he took questions from the audience.
Perhaps the Labour leader's most impressive moment came when he stood up to a business owner who claimed to be from a Labour voting family. The business boss said he was opposed to Labour’s plans to increase corporation tax, to increase the minimum wage and to impose VAT on private school fees to pay for free meals for all primary school pupils.
Sticking to his guns, Corbyn replied firmly: “This country is badly divided between the richest and the poorest.
"You put corporate tax and tax on the top end down then that division gets greater. Are you happy that so many of our children are going to school in super-size classes, that so many of our children are going to school hungry?
"Are you happy with so many people are waiting for operations? You don't address these problems by ignoring them.
"I appeal to you as a person who has traditionally supported our party to recognise that we're all better off when everybody is better off."