Jeremy Corbyn denies St Helens MP’s bullying claims

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn with his wife Laura Alvarez (left) at the launch of his Labour leadership campaign. He has dismissed bullying claims from St Helens North MP Conor McGinn
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn with his wife Laura Alvarez (left) at the launch of his Labour leadership campaign. He has dismissed bullying claims from St Helens North MP Conor McGinn
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Jeremy Corbyn has hit back at bullying claims made by St Helens MP Conor McGinn.

Mr McGinn alleged this morning the Labour leader had contemplated trying to use his family members to pressure him into changing his position.

But Corbyn dismissed the Labour MP’s claims, insisting: “I don’t do bullying.”

He told Sky News: “I wish some of my colleagues would concentrate on political issues. I regret the language that’s been used, by all of them.

“I don’t do any abuse, I don’t do any bullying, I don’t allow it to be done anywhere to do with any of my campaign teams and I’m very surprised and very disappointed they should say that because politics has to be about bringing people in.

“I think we have done that spectacularly well - we now have the largest membership we’ve ever had. That’s good, that means more and more people are involved in politics.

“That’s good, it’s not a threat, it’s a good thing that people come together and want to debate and be active in politics in our society. Isn’t that good for democracy?”

His comments follow an extraordinary claim from Mr McGinn, who said Mr Corbyn considered calling his father - a Sinn Fein councillor - in an effort to “bully” him following critical comments the MP made in a magazine interview.

Mr Corbyn’s office dismissed the allegation as “untrue” but St Helens North MP Mr McGinn accused the party leader of hypocrisy for talking about a “kinder, gentler politics” when “he had proposed using my family against me”.

He said: “The leader of the Labour Party was proposing to address an issue with one of his own MPs by ringing his dad.”

Mr McGinn said: “I am afraid I could no longer tolerate the hypocrisy of him talking about a kinder, gentler politics when I knew for a fact that he had proposed using my family against me in an attempt to bully me into submission because he didn’t like something I said.”

In a statement, Mr McGinn said he and other Labour MPs had been subjected to a “torrent of abuse and threats” from supporters of Mr Corbyn.

“In my constituency, a group of people gained access to my shared office building under false pretences and filmed themselves protesting outside the door of my office, in an incident that has been reported to the police,” he said.

“They threatened to disrupt my surgeries and events I was attending, requiring me to have a police presence at those last weekend.”

Former shadow cabinet minister Ms Eagle, who launched a leadership challenge against Mr Corbyn before standing aside to give Mr Smith a clear run, suggested the leader had contributed to abuse directed at her and her staff.

She has cancelled constituency surgery meetings, a brick was thrown through her office window and her local Wallasey constituency Labour Party has been suspended amid bullying claims.