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Boris Johnson Admits He Has A Grudging Respect For Jeremy Corbyn

"It would be very, very complacent and wrong to ignore the truth of some of the observations he is making," the mayor told BuzzFeed News.

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Boris Johnson has urged Conservatives to start listening to left-wing Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn.

JACK TAYLOR / Getty Images

Boris Johnson shakes hands with Jeremy Corbyn at a memorial service in July 2015 for the victims of the 7/7 London attacks.

The London mayor and Tory MP said it would be "very complacent and wrong" to ignore Corbyn's analysis of society's problems.

BuzzFeed News asked Johnson what he made of Corbyn and the Labour leadership election after he made a speech to the Centre for Social Justice think tank in London.

Johnson told us: "I think the Corbomania is a very interesting political phenomenon and, actually, one-nation Tories should pay attention to it. Some of the things he's talking about, some of the analysis, is not wholly wrong.

"Yes there's a problem with inequality, yes there's a problem with low pay. I happen to think that his solutions are completely wrong and he would take the Labour party in radically the wrong direction.

"But it would be very, very complacent and wrong to ignore the truth of some of the observations he is making about ways in which society should be better, we should be humble about that. Also I think he probably is getting points for saying what he thinks."

He said: "I don't want to intrude on private grief, nor do I want to blight the chances of anyone in that campaign by offering an endorsement – I think that would probably be fatal.

"I am watching in some bemusement. I think if Labour had any sense they would probably pick one of the female candidates, I put it no stronger than that."

Corbyn, 66, has seen a huge surge in support in recent weeks, with thousands of people flocking to rallies to hear him speak. But many insiders are convinced he will fail to keep up the momentum in the contest. Ballot papers are sent out next Friday, with the result announced on 12 September.

Emily Ashton is a senior political correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Emily Ashton at emily.ashton@buzzfeed.com.

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