Saturday 10 December 2016

Derailed: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's claim he had to sit on floor of 'ram-packed' train disputed

Neil Lancefield and David Hughes

Published 23/08/2016 | 17:51

Handout CCTV footage dated 11/08/16 issued by Virgin Trains which was filmed at 11.08am, approximately 8 min after departure from King's Cross in central London, showing Labour Party leaderJeremy Corbyn, walking past several empty, unreserved seats in Coach F, after a video emerged last week which showed Mr Corbyn sitting on the floor, reading a newspaper, and saying
Handout CCTV footage dated 11/08/16 issued by Virgin Trains which was filmed at 11.08am, approximately 8 min after departure from King's Cross in central London, showing Labour Party leaderJeremy Corbyn, walking past several empty, unreserved seats in Coach F, after a video emerged last week which showed Mr Corbyn sitting on the floor, reading a newspaper, and saying "This is a problem that many passengers face every day" before calling for public ownership of the railways

CCTV images have been released appearing to show Jeremy Corbyn walking past empty unreserved train seats before he was filmed sitting on the floor complaining about "ram-packed" carriages.

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The Labour leader was travelling on the three-hour 11am Virgin Trains service from London King's Cross to Newcastle on August 11.

Handout CCTV footage dated 11/08/16 issued by Virgin Trains which was filmed at 11.08am, approximately 8 min after departure from King's Cross in central London, showing Labour Party leaderJeremy Corbyn, walking past several empty, unreserved seats in Coach F, after a video emerged last week which showed Mr Corbyn sitting on the floor, reading a newspaper, and saying
Handout CCTV footage dated 11/08/16 issued by Virgin Trains which was filmed at 11.08am, approximately 8 min after departure from King's Cross in central London, showing Labour Party leaderJeremy Corbyn, walking past several empty, unreserved seats in Coach F, after a video emerged last week which showed Mr Corbyn sitting on the floor, reading a newspaper, and saying "This is a problem that many passengers face every day" before calling for public ownership of the railways

A video emerged last week which showed him sitting on the floor and describing a lack of seats as "a problem that many passengers face every day".

He then called for public ownership of the railways.

But Virgin Trains released CCTV images which appear to show Mr Corbyn and his team walking past empty unreserved and reserved seats at 11.07am.

He recorded his video message on the floor around 30 minutes into the journey before finding an unreserved seat at 11.43am with the help of the on board staff, Virgin Trains said.

Handout CCTV footage dated 11/08/16 issued by Virgin Trains which was filmed at 11.07am, approximately 7 min after departure from King's Cross in central London, showing Labour Party leaderJeremy Corbyn (top right), walking past several empty, unreserved seats in Coach H, after a video emerged last week which showed Mr Corbyn sitting on the floor, reading a newspaper, and saying
Handout CCTV footage dated 11/08/16 issued by Virgin Trains which was filmed at 11.07am, approximately 7 min after departure from King's Cross in central London, showing Labour Party leaderJeremy Corbyn (top right), walking past several empty, unreserved seats in Coach H, after a video emerged last week which showed Mr Corbyn sitting on the floor, reading a newspaper, and saying "This is a problem that many passengers face every day" before calling for public ownership of the railways

Billionaire Sir Richard Branson, who co-owns the train operator with Stagecoach, posted a link to the CCTV images on his Twitter account and wrote that Mr Corbyn "walked past empty unreserved seats".

A spokesman for Virgin Trains said: "We have to take issue with the idea that Mr Corbyn wasn't able to be seated on the service, as this clearly wasn't the case."

Mr Corbyn was on his way to debate with Owen Smith in a Labour leadership hustings in Gateshead.

A spokesman for his campaign said: "When Jeremy boarded the train he was unable to find unreserved seats, so he sat with other passengers in the corridor who were also unable to find a seat.

"Later in the journey, seats became available after a family were upgraded to first class, and Jeremy and the team he was travelling with were offered the seats by a very helpful member of staff.

"Passengers across Britain will have been in similar situations on overcrowded, expensive trains. That is why our policy to bring the trains back into public ownership, as part of a plan to rebuild and transform Britain, is so popular with passengers and rail workers."

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