The allegation is that Jeremy Corbyn lied about a Virgin Trains service from London to Newcastle being “ram-packed” when he was filmed sitting in the floor rather than upgrading to First Class.
The company has produced CCTV footage of him apparently walking past empty seats before taking his place on the floor.
My question is: If there were empty seats, why were other people sitting on the floor with him? They weren’t all Corbyn supporters so that can’t have been the reason.
These people have spoken up, saying that Mr Corbyn was right and the railway company was wrong.
So let’s consider the possibility that the rail firm is lying. Why would Richard Branson’s minions possibly want to deceive us?
Because Virgin is a private, profit-making firm that hasn’t improved its services to a point where everyone who has paid good money for a seat actually gets one, and Mr Corbyn wants to re-nationalise the railways?
That seems a good reason.
We know that Mr Corbyn walked past reserved seats, and we know that the train company upgraded other people to First Class in order to provide seats for him and his companions, after realising he was on the floor.
Doesn’t that indicate there was no other way to get him into a seat, for a company showing a certain desperation to kill the bad publicity being generated for it?
And you don’t see any CCTV of the corridor areas, do you?
The whole story seems to have backfired on Virgin, with people queuing up (it seems) to post a joke about it.
Here’s Sue Perkins, for example: “Journeys on Virgins Trains are going to be so much more interesting now I know that Richard Branson personally reviews the CCTV footage…”
It also backfired on Owen Smith, who has been pilloried for providing a “crap joke” (as the ‘i’ website described it). Here it is: “My campaign remains on track. Proud to be genuinely standing up for ordinary people.”
Given all of the above, who do you believe?
Earlier this month Mr Corbyn released a video of himself sitting on the floor of a Virgin East Coast train arguing that “this is a problem that many passengers face every day”.
The train company, however, has released CCTV stills showing Mr Corbyn finding a seat on the train, saying that it “clearly wasn’t the case” he could not find somewhere to sit. Though Mr Corbyn did not claim that there were no seats on the train, he said it was “ram-packed”.
Other people on the train have however come forward to say it was in fact very busy, at least at the start of the journey.
One passenger, Keren Harrison, posted a picture of herself on the train with Mr Corbyn and gave an account of events that contradicted the company’s version.
“I was on said train and it was very busy!” she said. “He got seat about 45 mins in when staff started shuffling people around!”
She added in another tweet that the train was “chock-a”.
Separately, Charles Anthony, a Corbyn-supporting video journalist who shot the original film also released new footage and disputed the company’s account.
“Video footage of Corbyn sitting down is after he filmed video. And after people got off,” he said in a series of tweets.
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