Jeremy Corbyn has told a bemused Lorraine Kelly about his "zany" love of historical drain covers.
The Labour leader appeared on Lorraine on Monday morning and was asked by the legendary morning TV host if it was true that he was interested in manhole covers, trains, and Huguenot architecture.
Corbyn said he was "fascinated" by what we can learn from drain covers, saying "some of them are quite artistic", although he said he hasn't had much time to pursue his hobby since he became Labour leader.
"I got this from my mother, an interest in the sort of social history of how things happen," said Corbyn. "If you walk around and look at drain covers, you'll see, in London, MWB – Metropolitan Border Works – that gives you the age of it because the MWB hasn't been around for a long time.
"You see a history of public utilities in drain covers, some of them are quite artistic. I know this sounds a bit zany."
Kelly seemed sceptical of Corbyn's hobby, but the Labour leader insisted drains can tell you a lot about "the way cities grow" and said he doesn't "do it that much" anyway.
"History is what we all live all the time and it's a kind of social history so people look at the history of railways, road, trams, housing, and I think looking at the way cities grow it also comes within it, the architecture, the different migrant groups that came.
"Look at the Huguenot architecture in the East End of London. Where did that come from? The Huguenots coming from what we call the Low Countries. Look at the same in the North East of England, the influence of Scandinavian architecture. We all come from somewhere, don't we? And that's what's fascinating about history."
He added: "It doesn't hurt anybody, I don't do it that much. I'm a bit busy at the moment."
Corbyn also said that he had received a lot of stick for this outfit from his family, who have since offered him some "sartorial advice".
"There was one point I went out the front door," said Corbyn. "I was going out, as you do, locally, for a bit of exercise wearing my shorts and T-shirt and so on, and I was carrying something to drop off somewhere on the way and my son said to me, 'That's terrible.' I said 'What?', then he said the socks didn't match.
"You'd be amazed by the amount of sartorial advice I get from a lot of people, particularly friends and neighbours."
Jamie Ross is a Scotland reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Edinburgh.
Contact Jamie Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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