The Labour leader took part to a new interview for ITV’s Tonight programme airing tomorrow evening, where he failed to answer whether he does or doesn’t watch the Queen’s speech broadcasted every year on Christmas Day. Mr Corbyn was asked by Julie Etchingham to speak about Christmas in the Corbyn household.
In a video released ahead of ‘The Leader Interviews: Jeremy Corbyn – Tonight’, the ITV presenter said: “Do you sit down to watch the Queen’s speech, Mr Corbyn?”
The Labour leader, seemingly dodging the question, answered saying his family “has it on, some of the time”.
Mr Corbyn also said that the speech, usually broadcasted on December 25 at 3pm on BBC One, ITV, Sky 1 and Sky News as well as BBC Radio and Classic FM, is “on the morning”.
Ms Etchingham, with an amused smile, pointed out the speech is actually in the afternoon, saying that “that’s when everybody watches it”.
Jeremy Corbyn dodged questions on whether he watches the Queen’s speech on Christmas Day
Jeremy Corbyn’s interview with Julie Etchingham will air tomorrow
Mr Corbyn then, appearing in difficulty, seemed to be gaining some time with his answer, saying: “Well, our Christmas is sometimes…”
Ms Etchingham interrupted Mr Corbyn, saying before starting to laugh: “You don’t watch it, do you Mr Corbyn?”
To which the Labour leader answered: “We don’t watch television very much on Christmas Day.
“There is lots… Lots to do… I enjoy the presence of my family and friends around Christmas.
The Queen’s Christmas speech airs every year on Christmas Day in the afternoon
“Obviously, like everybody else does, and, I also visit the local homeless shelter, either on Christmas Day, or the day before, to talk to, and listen to people’s lives, about how they could be made better with a government that cared for them.”
The preview of the interview, which will air at 7.30 on Thursday, was welcomed with dismay by some social media users and royal commentators.
Charlie Proctor, editor-in-chief at Royal Central, wrote on Twitter: “Jeremy Corbyn has made a complete pig’s ear of a question about whether he watches The Queen’s Speech on Christmas Day.
The Queen was crowned in June 1953
The Queen smiling during her Christmas speech in 1957
“If you don’t watch it, just say – don’t lie!
“Right-thinking members of society won’t scorn somebody for not watching The Queen.”
One Twitter user commented Mr Proctor’s tweet, saying: “If you don’t watch it just say!
“It’s not a hanging offence – plenty of people don’t watch it for all sorts of reasons.
“Shifty and evasive.”
Other Twitter users didn’t seem bothered by Mr Corbyn’s evasive answer.
One wrote: “Didn’t realise it was mandatory.
The Royal Family’s family tree
“Haven’t seen the sodding thing in years.
“As an act of atonement I shall watch every Queen’s speech from 1980 to present, while singing all 36 stanzas of the national anthem and clad from head to toe in the British flag.”
Another argued with Ms Etchingham’s statement that “everybody” watches the Queen’s speech.
While it isn’t clear whether the ITV presenter meant that “everybody” who watches the Queen’s speech does it at 3pm or simply that “everybody” in the country watches it, some Twitter users pointed out that last year only 6.3million people tuned in to listen to the Queen at 3pm on Christmas Day.
One Twitter user said: “With viewing figures of about 6.3million it would seem that @julieetchitv is convinced that over 90 percent of the UK population has suddenly died.
Jeremy Corbyn is a republican
“Given this terrible tragedy, surely there were more important questions to ask a potential Prime Minister.”
Mr Corbyn was already grilled on his thoughts over the Crown during the first ITV leader debate aired in November.
Asked by Ms Etchingham whether monarchy is still fit for purpose, Mr Corbyn said it “needs a bit of improvement.”
Ms Julie then asked both Mr Corbyn and Boris Johnson if Prince Andrew was fit for purpose, to which Mr Corbyn said: “Before we discuss Prince Andrew I think we should discuss the victims that are there because of what (Jeffrey) Epstein was doing.
“I think there are very, very serious questions that must be answered and nobody should be above the law, but the primary position ought to be the proper treatment of those people who were victims of the most appalling behaviour by apparently Epstein and many others.”
Mr Corbyn declared to be a republican, but stated upon becoming leader of the Labour Party in 2015 he would not seek to abolish the monarchy while he remains leader.