Jeremy Corbyn’s wife says outgoing Labour leader was ‘vilified’

Jeremy Corbyn's wife has accused the media of having "vilified" the Labour leader and said he was "attacked by his own party" during his five years in the top job.

In a rare public intervention, Laura Alvarez also said the NHS would have been better prepared for the coronavirus pandemic if Labour had united to win power at the 2017 and 2019 elections while Mr Corbyn was at the helm.

Mr Corbyn is preparing to stand down on Saturday when his successor is revealed, having announced he was quitting after leading the party to its worst showing since the 1930s during the December election.

His wife of seven years has largely steered clear of making public comments since the 70-year-old was elected Labour leader in 2015.

But, in an article in the Mirror, the Mexican revealed it was difficult for her to watch from the sidelines as her husband faced criticism from both the press and the party.

"It has been incredibly hard for me to watch my husband vilified and to hear his words twisted by his political opponents and some in the media," said the former human rights lawyer.

"It has been even harder to watch him be attacked by his own party.

"The brutal irony is that if we had pulled together, we would have been ready to lead the country rather than suffer more austerity under the Tories."

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Jeremy Corbyn speaking at a Together for Education rally at Central Hall Westminster in London.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn during a visit to at the Heugh Battery Museum in Hartlepoo where he announced a package of measures that the next Labour government will introduce to support armed forces personnel and veterans at the Heugh Battery Museum in Hartlepool.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London.
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn (centre) celebrates with the Shadow Cabinet and Labour MPs as they welcome newly-elected Labour Member of Parliament Lisa Forbes (left) to Parliament in Westminster, London, following her victory in the Peterborough by-election.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn arrives to announce a package of measures that the next Labour government will introduce to support armed forces personnel and veterans at the Heugh Battery Museum in Hartlepool.
Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks at the Pill Millennium Centre, Newport, after Ruth Jones won the Newport West by-election.
Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn and fellow Labour MPs welcome the newly elected MP for Newport West, Ruth Jones (right), to the Houses of Parliament in London today.
A supporter takes a picture of Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn with Ruth Jones (centre) and Jane Hutt (left) at the Pill Millennium Centre, Newport, after Ms Jones she won the Newport West by-election.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (centre), shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer and shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey in his office in the Houses of Parliament in London preparing for a meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May.
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves his home in north London, after he said on Tuesday he would be "very happy" to meet with Prime Minister Theresa May when she offered to discuss plans with him on exiting the EU.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with the Political Declaration setting out the framework for the future UK-EU relationship, in his office in the Houses of Parliament in London.
Embargoed to 0001 Sunday March 31 File photo dated 20/08/18 of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (right) and Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard. Scottish Labour has suggested councils across Scotland should be allowed to establish municipal bus companies.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn walks along Dolphin Street in Newport, South Wales, as he joins prospective parliamentary candidate Ruth Jones (left) who is standing in the Newport West by-election.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (centre) poses with Labour supporters in Dolphin Street, Newport, South Wales, as he accompanies prospective parliamentary candidate Ruth Jones (not in picture) who is standing in the Newport West by-election.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn poses for a selfie in Dolphin Street, Newport, South Wales, as he campaigns with prospective parliamentary candidate Ruth Jones who is standing in the Newport West by-election.
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn canvassing in Morecambe with candidate Lizzi Collinge, while on the local elections campaign.
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn canvassing in Morecambe , while on the local elections campaign.
Kier Stammer (left) and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn arrive in Brussels ahead of a meeting with Michel Barnier.
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 26: Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn (2nd R) speaks with guests during a National Holocaust Memorial Day event at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre on January 26, 2017 in London, England. The commemorative event, attended by religious leaders, heard testimonies from survivors of the Holocaust, in which millions of predominantly Jewish people were killed. National Holocaust Day on February 27 marks the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp by Soviet troops. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves Finsbury Park Mosque in London, following the Christchurch mosque attacks in New Zealand, as worshipers begin to arrive for the Friday prayer service.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks to media after laying a wreath outside the New Zealand High Commission in Haymarket, London, in the aftermath of the mosque attacks in Christchurch.
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 09: Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn (C) leaves following a rally to mark 80 years since the Battle of Cable Street at St George's in the East on October 9, 2016 in London, England. Speakers including Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn join members of the Jewish community to commemorate the Battle of Cable Street, which, in 1936 saw antifascist protesters clash with police to block a demonstration by Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard with Jeremy Corbyn after making his keynote address at the Scottish Labour's Annual Conference in Caird Hall, Dundee.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn addressing Scottish Labour's Annual Conference in Dundee.
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (right) is joined by Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn on a rooftop overlooking the former Holloway Prison site, as they announced it will be acquired by Peabody Housing Association.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is seen with flowers during the fourth Visit My Mosque Day at Finsbury Park Mosque in North London. Over 250 mosques open their doors to non-Muslim guests and visitors on the fourth Visit My Mosque Day. This year the national event also encourages mosques to support Keep Britain Tidy's Great British Spring Clean campaign with many already taking part in cleaning their communities. Later a man thought to be a pro-Brexit campaigner was arrested after he pressed down an egg on Jeremy Corbyn�s head. (Photo by Dinendra Haria / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is seen arriving at Finsbury Park Mosque in North London for the fourth Visit My Mosque Day. Over 250 mosques open their doors to non-Muslim guests and visitors on the fourth Visit My Mosque Day. This year the national event also encourages mosques to support Keep Britain Tidy�s Great British Spring Clean campaign with many already taking part in cleaning their communities. Later a man thought to be a pro-Brexit campaigner was arrested after he pressed down an egg on Jeremy Corbyn�s head. (Photo by Dinendra Haria / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn speaking at a rally at Voluntary Action in Beeston, which falls in Independent MP Anna Soubry's constituency of Broxtowe.
Jeremy Corbyn MP Leader of Labor Party is seen speaking during the 2019 National Manufacturing Conference in Queen Elizabeth II Center. The conference addresses the difficulties and challenges the manufacturing sector will face post-Brexit. (Photo by Dinendra Haria / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves his home in north London.
File photo dated 24/09/18 of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (right) and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, who have both published their tax returns. Mr Corbyn has issued a challenge to Theresa May and Chancellor Philip Hammond to publish their tax returns, as he made his public for the fourth year in succession.
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn poses for a selfie after a speech at the Labour local government conference at The Slate, Warwick Conferences, Coventry.
Embargoed to 2200 Wednesday February 06 Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn signs a letter he has written to Prime Minister Theresa May laying out Labour's five Brexit demands before she goes to Brussels tomorrow.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn during a visit to Derbyshire to discuss cuts to bus services.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn talking to a bus driver in Nottingham before a visit to Ilkeston, Derbyshire to discuss cuts to bus services.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn speaking at St Mary�s in the Castle during a visit to Hastings in East Sussex.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn meeting staff on the surgical ward during a visit to the Conquest Hospital in Hastings.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn meeting community nurses and staff on a medical ward during a visit to the Conquest Hospital in Hastings.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn delivers a speech on Brexit during a visit to OE Electrics in Wakefield.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn takes a selfie with staff member Russ Whitehouse during a visit to OE Electrics in Wakefield.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn delivers a speech on Brexit during a visit to OE Electrics in Wakefield.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (centre) joins protestors outside Kings Cross St Pancras station in London to highlight 'rising rail fares and falling standards of service on Britain's railways' as part of Labour's Rail Action Day.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn outside Kings Cross St Pancras station in London to highlight 'rising rail fares and falling standards of service on Britain�s railways' as part of Labour�s Rail Action Day.
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Ms Alvarez said she was "proud" of her spouse and urged his successor "not to lose sight" of the left-wing policies promoted by the veteran MP.

She argued that the NHS would have been better prepared for the Covid-19 outbreak if Mr Corbyn had been prime minister.

The Government has faced criticism in recent days for the lack of personal protection equipment available to front line health staff, as well for failing to commission more testing to allow healthy self-isolating doctors and nurses to return to work.

"I read about the work that our amazing heroes in the NHS are doing during the coronavirus outbreak and only wish that the investment our health service needs had been offered long before now," said Ms Alvarez.

Her comments come as Lisa Nandy, one of the three leadership candidates, said the contest had ended "in the hardest of circumstances" after the ballot closed at noon on Thursday.

The final weeks of the race were largely sidelined due to the coronavirus pandemic, with all candidate events and hustings cancelled.

All three contenders have been asked to pre-record victory speeches in the event they win, with the victor having theirs released on Saturday morning when the result is revealed.

Ms Nandy tweeted a video thanking her supporters for their efforts during the three-month contest.

"When this started, I said Labour must change or die," said the Wigan MP.

"I had no idea how many of you felt the same.

"We took the moment of Labour's worst defeat and turned it into the moment where things start to get better."

She said supporter efforts to rebuild and reconnect with voters who had deserted the party at the last election showed the party could "win again".

Front-runner Sir Keir Starmer also tweeted at the close of the ballot, thanking his rivals, Ms Nandy and Rebecca Long-Bailey, for showing "positivity and unity" during the bout.

Those eligible to vote had until midday on Thursday to make their choice before the new leader is revealed on Saturday.

The ballot had opened on February 21, with voting papers sent out to party members, members of affiliated trade unions and groups and 14,700 "registered supporters" who paid £25 to take part on a one-off basis.

Because of the coronavirus emergency, the winners of both the leadership and the deputy leadership race, which has been running in parallel, will no longer be unveiled at a "special conference" as originally planned but via a virtual announcement.

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner has been seen as the favourite to take the post of deputy leader.

Ms Rayner is in a race against Dawn Butler, Ian Murray, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan and Richard Burgon.

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