Aides hold Jeremy Corbyn back after reporter asks if he was 'running away'

Jeremy Corbyn Train

Jeremy Corbyn was held back by aides today after a reporter asked if he was “running away” from answering questions about his beleaguered leadership.

Video appears to show aides trying to hold the Labour leader back after Victoria Macdonald of Channel 4 News shouted questions at him about his future as leader and told him he appeared to be running away from the media.

The Labour leader turned around and told her: “If you want to arrange an interview, speak to my press office.”

One aide tries to grab hold of his arm, while another says “don’t, Jeremy, don’t, come on” while manhandling him, before he turns back and walks off.

Macdonald later tweeted that Corbyn was “angry, yes, but contrary to reports I didn’t feel ‘lunged at’”.

A spokesman for Corbyn said he could not see “anything to respond to” when asked for comment.

The incident occurred on Highbury Fields in north London after Corbyn spoke at an anti-racism rally.

Photographer Julian Andrews told the Telegraph that Corbyn was walking back to his car when the incident occurred.

“There were three or four camera crews and a handful of photographers. Everyone had been told that he wasn’t answering questions,” he said. “The reporter asked him if he was running away and he completely fired up. He swung around and made his way to confront her, but two or three aides carried him away. He was really pissed off.”

Corbyn had earlier posed for selfies and chatted with the crowd at the Say No To Hate Crime rally in his north London constituency.

Thousands brought banners and flag to a rally in support of Corbyn in Liverpool today, the Liverpool Echo reported.

Speakers voiced their support for the Labour leader and criticised those who said Corbyn was losing support among the electorate.

Meanwhile, Angela Eagle made a renewed call on Saturday for Corbyn to stand down for the good of the party and the country.

The former shadow business secretary is poised to mount a challenge to Corbyn, with the former shadow work and pensions secretary Owen Smith also believed to be considering a bid.

Eagle told ITV News: “Let’s face it, the country is in a crisis and we need strong opposition. It’s all about Jeremy considering his position and I don’t think speculation about anything else is useful.”

Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, is continuing to seek a meeting with Corbyn’s team to find a way of negotiating a settlement as the crisis engulfing the party shows no sign of abating.

Momentum, the grassroots movement that supports Corybn, dismissed claims the leader could go after being offered a settlement that would ensure his top priorities were continued under his successor.

James Schneider, a national organiser, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The coup plotters are now flailing about because they have had 10 months to plot this coup and it seems like it has failed. Jeremy Corbyn has shown incredible steel in staying there and not falling, and staying there on behalf of the principle of democracy in the party.”

Schneider claimed that Corbyn would win a new leadership ballot and insisted the wave of people signing up for Labour membership were largely supportive of the leader. “They don’t have a candidate who can beat Jeremy Corbyn,” he added.

Polling has indicated more than half the members of Unite, Britain’s biggest trade union, want him to quit. Almost 50% of members said they wanted Corbyn to go immediately, while a further 10% believe he should resign before the next general election, according to a poll seen by the Guardian.

Among Labour voters, 61% said he was doing badly in the job, the YouGov Election Data survey found. Overall, 35% said Corbyn should stay at the helm in the face of overwhelming opposition from MPs, MEPs and politicians in Scotland.

The YouGov poll of 775 voters will be seized on by opponents as proof that Corbyn lacks support on the ground. It was not commissioned by the union, which has 1.4 million members, and the Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey, was among the first to rally to Corbyn’s support as the attempt to oust him emerged.

A Unite spokesman said: “Unite’s policy is made in 3,500 branches by at least 100,000 activists, by our policy conference and our elected executive council of lay members. This democratic procedure is not going to be set aside in favour of an opinion poll conducted by an organisation with a miserable accuracy record of late.”

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Chris Johnston, for theguardian.com on Saturday 2nd July 2016 16.51 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010