Question Time audience member takes Corbyn to task over racism and misogyny in Labour

Ryan Jacobs, a father from Hull, tells the Labour leader: 'I don't buy the nice old grandpa'



A member of the BBC Question Time audience took Jeremy Corbyn to task over his handling of antisemitism and misogyny during the programme’s special episode featuring the party leaders on Friday night.

Amid a series of hostile interrogations of the Labour leader from members of the audience, Ryan Jacobs, 36, attacked Mr Corbyn for the “disgraceful” way he has dealt with antisemitism in the party.

The father from Hull pointed to a video showing Mr Corbyn chatting happily to a man who had heckled Jewish Labour MP Ruth Smeeth at the launch of a report into antisemitism, leading her to leave the venue in tears.

He told Mr Corbyn: “I heard you talk about free speech and standing up for human rights. I have two daughters and what terrifies me is that I look at some of the Labour MPs, some female MPs, and the misogyny that’s happened in the Labour Party. They’ve been driven out the party. 

“I look at a video on YouTube with Ruth Smeeth particularly. I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt in terms of maybe people are doing it in your name and are not supported by you. 

“But I look at a video of Ruth Smeeth online when she was in a press conference with you, and basically Ruth Smeeth, a Jewish MP, was heckled out of that press conference and there you are at the end of that press conference chatting happily to that same heckler.” 

My Jacobs continued saying that he didn’t buy Mr Corbyn’s “nice grandpa” persona.

He went on: “I see that video and that tells me all I need to know and I’m terrified for my daughters because I see what you did in that video. I don’t understand how you can say you stand up for human rights and free speech when that’s how you support a Labour MP at a Labour press conference. 

“I think it’s disgraceful.” 

Mr Corbyn replied: “Nobody should suffer any abuse in public life or privately. Many women Labour MPs – Ruth Smeeth included and others – have suffered the most unbelievable levels of abuse.

“It was a Labour MP, Jo Cox, who was murdered because she stood up in public life. I ­simply say to you that bad behaviour, misogyny, racism is absolutely not acceptable in any form whatsoever in my party or in our society.” 

However, Mr Jacobs was not satisfied with Mr Corbyn’s response. He said: “Then why were you talking happily with a smile on your face to that same heckler when she’s been heckled in tears at the press conference? 

“Why would Labour female MPs need bodyguards at a Labour conference?” 

Stating that he had had “many conversations with Ruth Smeeth since then”, Mr Corbyn replied: “I did say hello to him as I left the meeting, as you would somebody you would know yourself. And also, you don’t know what was said between us.”

Mr Jacobs replied angrily: “Go look at the video Mr Corbyn.” 

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