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  1. ITV Report

Jeremy Corbyn says run on the pound under Labour a 'serious' concern

Jeremy Corbyn has told ITV News that the possibility of a run on the pound if Labour takes power is a "serious" concern - but moved to reassure investors about their prospects under his leadership.

The Labour leader refused to rule out joining the European Economic Area (EEA) after Britain leaves the EU, saying big decisions still need to be made.

In an interview with ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston, Mr Corbyn:

  • Called for abuse against BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg to stop after she was given a bodyguard for this week's Labour conference
  • Said debate about Israel should never morph into anti-Semitism
  • Accepted that criticism from some right-wing press of him will never end
  • Backed the kneeling protests by NFL players in America

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell earlier suggested there could be a run on the pound if Labour wins the next election.

Mr McDonnell told a meeting at Labour's annual conference in Brighton that the party had to be ready for an "assault" by opponents in the City, media and parliament.

A run on the pound is a situation where international investors sell sterling and sterling assets as quickly as possible.

This may occur when investors become nervous about the financial situation, such as when they feel the pound is overvalued and likely to fall. By selling quickly they prevent themselves making a loss and force the government to devalue the currency.

  • Watch Robert's full interview with the Labour leader:

Asked if he was worried about the possibility of a run on the pound, Mr Corbyn said it was an "historical problem" and investors should not fear his plans.

He said: "We are going to raise taxation, corporate taxation, they know that. We're going to invest in our economy and we do want a mixed economy.

"Does it mean everything is going to be taken to public ownership? No. Does it mean we want you to be investing here, in industries? Yes, we do."

Mr Corbyn added: "We will invest, we will develop and this is our economic offer and our economic model. We'll be a stronger society, a more equal society and a much more productive society."

Pressed on joining the EEA, Mr Corbyn said: "We will do the job we've said we would, which is a tariff-free trade relationship with Europe."

  • 'Any abuse is totally wrong'
Mr Corbyn called for the abuse of Laura Kuenssberg to stop. Credit: PA

BBC correspondent Kuenssberg has faced a backlash from some of Mr Corbyn's supporters for her reporting on the Labour leader.

It emerged that, as a result of this, she was to be accompanied by a security guard at the Labour conference.

Mr Corbyn said he had spoken to Kuenssberg and said that "any abuse of anybody, by anybody, is simply and totally wrong".

In a message to those responsible for the abuse, he said: "Stop it, stop it straight away. Don't do it. It's not what I want, it's not what anybody wants."

Mr Corbyn also addressed allegations of anti-Semitism within his party, saying that debates about Israeli settlements and other issues in the region should never lead to abuse.

"At no stage should it ever morph in to any kind of anti-Semitism," he said. "That is simply, totally unacceptable."

  • 'I don't like this Corbyn bloke either'
Mr Corbyn says social media has helped him get his message out. Credit: PA

The Labour leader himself has faced harsh criticism from some sections of the press, particularly ahead of this year's general election.

He said he accepts that some will never give him a fair hearing but that he was still able to get his message out, particularly through social media.

Mr Corbyn said he would be hard-pushed to vote for himself based on some of the things written about him.

"Once or twice I've stolen myself into the House of Commons library and looked a whole week of the tabloid press...I thought I don't like this Corbyn bloke either," he said.

  • Corbyn on NFL protests

The Labour leader became the latest politician to wade into the debate over sports stars taking a knee before or during the US national anthem.

It comes after Donald Trump said NFL players who do not stand during the anthem should be fired.

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On Monday, The Dallas Cowboys players, staff and owner took a knee before the anthem in protest at the president's comments.

Mr Corbyn said the players have "every right to make that protest".

"I say, gently, to President Trump, recognise the rights of protest and your country, by the way, gained its independence from protest," he said.