Corbyn's chances fading?

The Labour leader's interview with Andrew Neil was a disaster

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Is Jeremy Corbyn running out of time to catch Boris Johnson?

By Joe Harker

There's only two weeks until the general election which is described as a "once in a generation" vote.

Boris Johnson wanted it for a long time and the polls are tipped heavily in his favour, but Jeremy Corbyn's Labour party has been gaining ground on the campaign trail.

With little time to go is it a case of Labour having too much of a gap to close and not enough time to do it?

The Claim:

For all the progress Corbyn has made in recent weeks he had a disastrous interview with the BBC's Andrew Neil that made it onto the front pages of almost every national newspaper in the UK.

Most headlines focused on Corbyn's refusal to apologise for antisemitism in the Labour party. It's not a good look for his party and may have undone much of the hard work from the campaign trail.

It was half an hour of political evisceration as Corbyn also struggled to answer tough questions on Brexit, where the funding for WASPI women will come from and whether he's able to make the difficult calls he's required to.

For those who saw the interview it was a disaster, for everyone else they'll see the headlines of condemnation for his poor performance and inability to apologise.

If the Andrew Neil interview ends up being another setback for Corbyn then he's probably out of time to close the gap between himself and Johnson enough to avoid a Tory majority. The clock is ticking ever closer to polling day.

The Counter Claim:

However, Corbyn and his inner circle still believe he's on course to do something special.

He's got two weeks to cut deep enough into a Tory lead of up to 13 per cent and he is on an upwards trajectory. Labour have made gains on the Tories once they entered campaign mode.

They've not quite risen at the same rate as they did in 2017 where they deprived the Conservatives of a parliamentary majority but as time goes by they are growing in support.

The polls are tightening and Labour doesn't technically need to win a majority to prevent Boris Johnson from getting his own way in the House of Commons.

If Corbyn can put the Tories in a situation where they don't have enough seats to govern and they don't have enough allies to form a working majority with then that might be good enough. Corbyn doesn't need to overtake Johnson, just prevent him from crossing the finish line.

The Facts:

At this point in the last election Theresa May's Tories enjoyed a similar lead over Corbyn's Labour, though the Tories were on a downward trajectory whereas the party is holding relatively steady for the time being.

Anything can happen on the campaign trail and Johnson is yet to experience his own mauling at the hands of Andrew Neil. There are plenty of questions he would struggle to answer and at the moment it looks like he's ducking scrutiny.

The chances of Labour getting a parliamentary majority are slim to none and right now it looks like the Tories are on course for a majority. However, polls struggled to accurately predict the last couple of elections at this stage in proceedings.

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Corbyn's interview with Andrew Neil was so bad it redefined the genre

To wonder whether Neil/Corbyn was as bad as Frost/Nixon or Maitlis/York is to ask the wrong question, really. Because the sheer agony of it could not be contained within the parameters of the simple TV interview format.

Anyone idly flicking through the channels and alighting on BBC One at 7pm might have imagined themselves to have stumbled upon one of those old Japanese humiliation endurance game-shows as featured on Tarrant on TV, but with the really cruel twist that there was absolutely no prize at the end.

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