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At least it wasn't dull! Eamonn Holmes shoots back at critics after he's accused of 'smug' Jeremy Corbyn interview

By Una Brankin

Published 01/10/2015

Eamonn Holmes interviewing Jeremy Corbyn yesterday
Eamonn Holmes interviewing Jeremy Corbyn yesterday
Eamonn Holmes
Jeremy Corbyn

Eamonn Holmes remains unrepentant over his controversial Sky News interview with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn yesterday, despite a huge backlash on social media.

Critics on Twitter accused the Belfast-born anchor of dumbing down political debate by using football analogies in questions about Mr Corbyn's leadership style, and by asking him about his tie.

"I knew there'd be a very well organised internet response, but that doesn't intimidate me," Eamonn said yesterday during a interview for our Saturday paper.

"I did a really good interview with Jeremy Corbyn today - I didn't ask the questions the PRs want and I know I'll be called a disgrace to journalism, asking about the tie and so on, but I know what my strengths are and I know Corbyn was happy with it. I'm fed up with PRs dictating the agenda."

Interviewed by satellite from the Labour Party conference in Brighton, Mr Corbyn deflected a number of questions and seemed bemused at some of the interjections made by 55-year-old Holmes, who was evidently frustrated with the Labour leader.

"People will say I'm sucking up to you or being soft, but people will say your outlook is a bit hippy," Holmes said on air. "Why don't you just admit you hate the Tories?"

The conversation then moved on to the colour of the Labour leader's ties, and later Holmes compared Mr Corbyn to former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Asked for his opinion of Mr Corbyn, Eamonn told the Belfast Telegraph: "I think he's an amazing breath of fresh air and I hope he shakes the system up, but he's just telling people what they want to hear.

"You're not going to disagree with him on hospital waiting lists and the homeless and so on. It's a different matter when someone says 'but here's the bill', unless he can get the taxes."

Many Twitter users and supporters of Mr Corbyn criticised the presenter's approach, calling him smug, patronising and rude.

However, there was also some support for the newsman on social media, with some pointing out he was simply doing his job.

"Don't listen to them Eamonn! Love your style of questioning on Sky News," wrote one fan.

Another said: "Go for it Eamonn! Getting serious, gave Corbyn the raised eyebrow. Can always rely on your fairness. Everyone gets a grilling."

Currently celebrating 35 years in broadcast journalism, Eamonn reiterated that he had no regrets about the interview.

"I treat all politicians with some cynicism," he said. "At the end of the day, the system won't allow anything to happen. I don't vote and nobody can say they know what my politics are because I don't know myself. It's my job to put the opposite side of the coin to the politicians and make the interview interesting. I can't understand why anyone wouldn't prefer that to something dull."

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