Owen Smith and Jeremy Corbyn talk Isis, Brexit… and Ant and Dec

Written by David Singleton on 17 August 2016 in Diary

Watch: Jeremy Corbyn failed to recognise Ant and Dec when he was shown a photo of the Labour-voting pair.

Labour leadership rivals Owen Smith and Jeremy Corbyn clashed over Isis and Brexit as they went head-to-head on the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme.

Smith raised eyebrows by suggesting the so-called Islamic State could be involved in negotiations with the West in the future.

“My view is ultimately that all political solutions to these sorts of crises do come about through dialogue,” he said.

“But at the moment Isil are clearly not interested in negotiating. At some point, for us to resolve this, we will need to get people round the table.”

Corbyn had said that negotiations should involve the Assad government and others in “proximity talks”. But he also said that Islamic State “are not going to be around the table”.





On Brexit, Smith said the decision was “a desperate mistake for our country” and repeated his call for a second referendum or a general election on the terms of leaving the European Union.

Corbyn said that defending workers’ rights and environmental protections were ‘red lines’ that he would fight against. But he stopped short of saying Labour should work to prevent Brexit.

Meanwhile, commentators were split on the significance of Corbyn not knowing who Ant and Dec are.

The Labour leader’s ignorance about the pair was exposed after he was presented with a photograph of them by host Victoria Derbyshire.

Despite being told that they were “Geordie TV presenters”, Corbyn was still none the wiser.

“I cannot name them, I’m really sorry,” he said.

For his part, Smith looked rather pleased with himself after recognising both Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber.




The Mail on Sunday columnist and prominent Corbyn critic Dan Hodges subsequently insisted that the gap in the Labour leader’s showbiz knowledge was not such a big deal.

But former Sun political editor and regular TP columnist George Pascoe Watson disagreed. The Portland consultant said it was important to know if leaders are in tune with popular culture as “we need to know what makes decision-makers tick”.








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