Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn joked about sending journalists to reeducation camps and revealed his love for baking in an interview with British Olympic and Tour de France winning cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme Tuesday morning.
Corbyn, who has been criticised for avoiding tough questioning by only appearing on the Today Programme once since becoming leader, agreed to answer questions from Wiggins, one of several people to guest edit the Today Programme over the Christmas period.
They started off the interview by comparing bikes. Corbyn showed off his aluminium Raleigh bike to Wiggins and joked about one of the most famous times he has been misrepresented in the media: an article in the Times newspaper that accused him of riding around on a “Chairman Mao-style bicycle.” As Corbyn correctly pointed out to Wiggins, his bike is a modern lightweight machine, unlike the heavy “Flying Pigeon” bikes used in Communist China.
“I think whoever wrote it was a Chairman Mao bicycle should be sent away for reeducation,” Corbyn joked while making a reference to China’s “Re-education through labour” camps that force political dissidents to undertake years of hard manual labour.
The questions Wiggins asked Corbyn weren’t as hard as perhaps the ones that might have been asked by one of the Today Programme’s regular presenters, but he did get Corbyn to open up on how it feels to become the leader of his party.
“I never really thought I would be appointed to any sort of position so my aspirations, in so far as I had any personal aspirations,” Corbyn told Wiggins, before adding that he is “very ,very proud” to be leader.
The job can be tough, though.
“It is a huge amount of work and pressure but basically very enjoyable,” Corbyn said. “I quite enjoy pressure. I don’t worry about things particularly. I just get on with it,” he added.
Corbyn also opened up to Wiggins on the importance of having a life outside of politics and gave away some his relaxation secrets: “I grow vegetables in my allotment, I enjoy doing that, I do some stuff at home, I make jam, I make cakes, I make bread. I enjoy doing bits of woodwork when I get time as well.”
Wiggins did manage to get in a couple of more serious questions, including asking Corbyn whether he really could envision a day when he ended up as Prime Minister. “Yes. Yes we could,” he replied.
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