COMRADE Corbyn “showed off” a naked Diane Abbott to impress his Left-wing friends when he was a young Labour activist, a new book written by a close colleague has revealed.
The Labour leader invited fellow activists to his London flat where they were “shaken” to find Ms Abbott in his bed, one of his friends recalled.
The incident took place in 1979 soon after Mr Corbyn’s first marriage broke down because of his near-obsessive dedication to his political activism.
It is described in Comrade Corbyn, a biography of the Labour leader by Rosa Prince, which is being serialised by The Telegraph.
The book, which draws on interviews with close friends and members of Mr Corbyn’s family, sheds new light on how his brief relationship with Ms Abbott – now a member of his shadow cabinet – helped establish his credentials on the Labour Left.
According to a Labour figure present at the time, Mr Corbyn may have thought that letting it be known that he was in a relationship with a black woman would demonstrate his commitment to radical Left-wing politics.
The witness describes how Mr Corbyn contrived an incident where a group of party activists had to visit his bedsit, where their arrival startled Ms Abbott.
“One Sunday autumn morning, he had broken up with Jane [Chapman, his first wife], and we were out leafleting. And for some reason he called four or five of us and said: ‘Oh, we’ve got to go back to my flat and pick up some leaflets.’
“It seemed a bit odd – ‘Why the hell didn’t you bring them with you, Jeremy?’ So we all bowl along to his bedsit, follow Jeremy into the room; there on the mattress on the floor in the one room is Diane with the duvet up to her neck, saying: ‘What the ****’s going on?’
“We were quite shaken. You know what it’s like when people you know both sides of break up – you have no inkling they’re going to break up, then suddenly they break up. So there was a bit of people’s surprise at that. It was [the] late ’70s, it was still a point of interest, a white man with a black woman, so he was slightly showing off: ‘I’ve got a new girlfriend, and she’s black’.”
By 1979 Jeremy Corbyn’s marriage to Jane Chapman relationship was over. “In all honesty, they didn’t split up, it just unravelled,” Keith Veness, a union colleague, sayd. “He never came home very much and Jane gave up on him in the end.”
Corbyn bought out Chapman’s share of their flat, and by the end of the year they were divorced.
Corbyn was not single for long. Chapman has since said that she still half held out the hope that they might reconcile, but within a few months of the separation, her husband had met the woman with whom he would have one of the most long-standing relationships of his life: Diane Abbott.