Tuesday 6 December 2016

Corbyn 'could turn up to Commons in Lycra'

Published 29/12/2015 | 09:56

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on his bike
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on his bike

Jeremy Corbyn has joked he should wear Lycra in the House of Commons - and suggested re-education for those who believe he rides a Chairman Mao bicycle.

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The Labour leader also insisted he is not a competitive person politically but enjoys the pressure of the job, adding he makes jam, cakes and bread to help take his mind off politics.

Mr Corbyn made the remarks during an interview with Tour de France winner and Olympic Gold medallist Sir Bradley Wiggins, who was acting as guest editor of BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

The Islington North MP took his aluminium-framed Raleigh bike along to his meeting with Sir Bradley.

When asked if that was the "famous Chairman Mao bicycle", Mr Corbyn quipped: "The Chairman Mao bicycle is, you know those pigeon bikes that are very heavy with not many gears, weigh a ton and once you get them going they've got their own kinetic energy, but this one is actually a very light one so I think whoever wrote it was a Chairman Mao bicycle should be sent away for re-education."

On cycle clothing, Mr Corbyn added: "I was thinking maybe I should just cycle in one day in my Lycra, go into Parliament in the chamber with my Lycra."

Mr Corbyn reflected on how his life has changed since becoming Opposition leader, explaining to Sir Bradley: "The downside of it is very intrusive media, it is different and very full-on.

"You lead a very full-on life so you must have the same kind of feelings that you have to do something else with your life as well. Working 24/7 doesn't mean you're producing 24/7."

On what he does to take his mind off politics, Mr Corbyn said: "Grow vegetables on my allotment, I enjoy doing that. I do some stuff at home - make jam, make cakes, I make bread.

"I enjoy doing bits and pieces of woodwork when I've got time as well so different things I like doing."

Mr Corbyn also told Sir Bradley: "The parallel with sport is an interesting one because it's half a parallel because in sport yes you're in it, in the English tradition, to take part but in reality you're in it to win.

"Politics is slightly different in the sense that I am not that competitive a person in that sense - I am much more a community cooperative kind of person.

"I never really thought I'd ever be appointed to any position so my aspiration, insofar as I had a personal aspiration, was to do my best to represent people and take up causes."

Mr Corbyn said the Labour leadership brought with it a "huge amount of work and pressure", adding: "But basically very enjoyable so I quite enjoy pressure, I don't worry about things particularly I just get on with it."

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