Hardly had Sadiq Khan been confirmed as the victor of the latest London Mayoral election than the right-leaning part of the Fourth Estate, which means most of it, was eagerly framing the narrative to suggest that there was some kind of split between Khan and party leader Jeremy Corbyn. And nowhere was that battle more eagerly joined than by the inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker, home of the Mail titles.
has argued its case.
“Allies of Jeremy Corbyn last night accused newly elected London Mayor Sadiq Khan of treating him like a ‘pariah’ by avoiding appearing in public with him … The Labour leader was conspicuous by his absence from Khan’s official swearing-in ceremony at Southwark Cathedral in South-East London yesterday … To add insult to injury, Corbyn’s predecessor as Labour leader, Ed Miliband, was there to see Mr Khan become Boris Johnson’s successor … And the pair even missed each other at Khan’s official victory party on Friday, with Corbyn arriving - and leaving - several hours before the London Mayor showed up”.
And who would those “Allies of Jeremy Corbyn” be, perchance? “Labour sources claimed Mr Corbyn’s office had made repeated attempts to arrange a joint photo call last week – but could not get through … ’Corbyn’s team couldn’t get Khan’s office to pick up the phone,’ said one insider. ‘He clearly doesn’t want anything to do with Jeremy’”.
“Sources”. An “insider”. This is already veering close to the tenuousness median. And it gets worse. Let’s consider three of those inconvenient facts. One, Jeremy Corbyn went to the celebration party in south London on Friday relatively early in the evening - and then went to get some sleep before travelling the next day. Khan, as he confessed on The Andy Marr Show (tm) this morning, has been extremely busy. He turned up later.
There was no planned avoidance by one man of the other. Two, Corbyn did not attend Khan’s swearing-in ceremony because he was over 100 miles away in Bristol - having gone to the celebration party the previous evening, he went to congratulate Marvin Rees, the newly elected Mayor of Bristol. He could have overcome this problem, but only if he was in possession of a time travelling device.
And three, if there was some deliberate attempt being made by Khan to avoid Corbyn, the new Mayor of London would not have stated on the Marr Show that he would meet the Labour leader tomorrow. The Mail has, not for the first time since Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party, confected a story where none existed.
But it helps to sell more papers and con more gullible readers, so that’s all right then.