Regional political journalists were denied interviews with Jeremy Corbyn at Labour’s conference – despite his spin doctor claiming he “loves the local press.”
The new Labour leader had been due to meet members of the regional press in Brighton yesterday, but pulled out 45 minutes before he was due to be interviewed.
It is understood reporters from titles including the Birmingham Post, Eastern Daily Press, Liverpool Echo, Manchester Evening News, Western Mail, Western Morning News and Yorkshire Post were among those let down.
Journalists from The Journal, Newcastle, and the Press & Journal, Aberdeen, were also present.
One of the reporters, who had been due to meet Mr Corbyn, told HTFP: “We were told that we would have a chat with him at quarter to one, then told at midday he’s not doing it. We were not given an official reason for it.
“We had a message from somebody within the press team. We did ask whether we could get John McDonnell but were then told they couldn’t get him either.
“I don’t think it was a deliberate strategy to cut out the regional press, we were just at the back of the queue. The press guys really tried to get something.”
It is understood Mr Corbyn had arrived late at an earlier engagement to speak to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme and was also interviewed for other national media, including Newsnight, during yesterday morning.
The reporter added: “Although it probably isn’t a deliberate strategy, it is nonetheless incredibly inconsiderate and short-sighted.
“We haven’t been given an official reason for why he’s pulled out, or an apology from him, but we get the sense that he had simply had enough of doing media and refused to do any more.”
Mr Corbyn’s cancellation comes after Brighton daily The Argus reported on Monday that it was given just a few minutes to interview him.
At the time his interim director of communications told reporter Joel Adams that Mr Corbyn “loves the local press”.
Mr Corbyn’s seemingly fraught relationship with the press is set to become a theme of his leadership after he spent part of his leader’s speech on Tuesday attacking the media.
Labour has yet to respond to HTFP’s request for a comment.