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British Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn accused of staging 'packed' train video in public relations stunt

ABC News logo ABC News 24/08/2016 Steve Cannane

British Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of staging a PR stunt on a train. © Jonathan Brady/Press Association British Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of staging a PR stunt on a train. British Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of staging a PR stunt on a train.

Last week his campaign team released a video of Mr Corbyn sitting on the floor of a carriage and claiming the train was "ram packed" and proof of the need to nationalise the rail service.

"This is a problem that many passengers face every day on the train — commuters and long distance travellers — today this train is completely ram packed," he said in the edited video distributed by his media team.

"The staff on the train are absolutely brilliant, working really hard to help everybody.

"The reality is there's not enough trains. We need more of them and they are also incredibly expensive.

"Isn't that a good case for public ownership?"

But carrier Virgin Trains accused Mr Corbyn, an advocate for nationalising Britain's rail service, of deceiving the British public.

It released CCTV images suggesting Mr Corbyn walked past empty seats before taking his place on the floor with a cup of coffee, a brown paper bag and a copy of a magazine.

"CCTV footage taken from the train on August 11 shows Mr Corbyn and his team walked past empty, unreserved seats in coach H before walking through the rest of the train to the far end, where his team sat on the floor and started filming," a statement from Virgin Trains said.

"The same footage then shows Mr Corbyn returning to coach H and taking a seat there, with the help of the onboard crew, around 45 minutes into the journey."

Corbyn's team stand by claim

Emma Reece from Mr Corbyn's campaign team insisted there were no seats available when Mr Corbyn and his team boarded the train.

"What you can't see on the images necessarily is the fact that there was luggage reserving the seats or small children," she said.

"He might not be able to see over the back of the seat that was sitting there.

"I was there. There was simply no seats available on the train. That's why Jeremy sat on the floor for the first part of the journey."

Mr Corbyn's rival in the Labour Pary's leadership contest Owen Smith appeared to be enjoying the story.

He tweeted: "My campaign remains on track. Proud to be genuinely standing up for ordinary people."

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