Jeremy Corbyn flounders live on air as Labour attempts to launch a new childcare policy

Mark Sands
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Jeremy Corbyn Campaigns To Remain In The EU
The UK will head to the polls on 8 June. (Source: Getty)

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has suffered a car-crash interview this morning as Labour attempted to launch a new pledge for free childcare after days of pre-election polls narrowing.

Labour party had been making headway in pre-election polling, closing the gap on Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservatives. A Survation poll for Good Morning Britain today had Labour trailing by just six points.

But this morning saw Corbyn repeatedly unable to explain the costs of a pledge to offer free childcare on Woman's Hour.

Labour only revealed the policy last night, which will eliminate means testing on childcare for two-year-olds and cut restrictions for three and four-year-olds whose parents aren't working.

But the Labour leader spectacularly self-destructed on the radio show in an excruciating interview as host Emma Barnett pressed for details.

Read More: General Election 2017: The press gives its verdict on Paxman TV interviews

Asked how much the policy will cost, Corbyn said: “It will cost, er. It will obviously cost a lot, we accept that.”

In a session riddled with long silences, the Labour leader told Barnett he would provide figures “in a moment”, and he was called out for logging into his iPad in a bid to obtain the numbers.

It fell to Barnett to inform Corbyn that his shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner, had earlier said the programme would cost up to £4.8bn.

Asked if those numbers “sound about right”, Corbyn responded “it does sound correct”.

It echoes shadow home secretary Diane Abbott's own efforts to promote the party's plans to recruit extra police officers, which were left in tatters when she was unable to specify what Labour would spend on the plan.

Read More: The poll gap is just seven points: could Labour actually win?

Bookmakers this morning cut their prices on a Labour victory, although the Tories remain the overwhelming favourite.

Odds for Labour to secure the most seats on Betfair's exchange shortened from 11/1 this morning, after previously sitting at 22/1 last week.

The Conservatives went out to 1/12, after being as short as 1/33.

Ladbrokes if offering Labour at 6/1 on a "most seats" bet, while the Tories are priced at 1/12.

Matthew Shaddick, Ladbrokes' head of political betting, said: “Punters continue to pour support behind Jeremy Corbyn and we’re regularly seeing five figure bets on him becoming PM come 9 June.

"More worryingly for Theresa May and the Conservatives, their projected majority is now 110, that’s down from 150 only 10 days ago.”

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