LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn’s visit to his party’s branch office in Scotland has been branded “political opportunism” after he and Scottish leader Richard Leonard took only three minutes of questions from hand-picked community groups.

Corbyn’s trip to Govan, in Glasgow, at the weekend had been promoted as a chance for local organisations to present their own experiences of austerity.

But one critic who attended the gathering told The National the groups represented had been picked mainly because of their support for Labour.

The individual known as Jay, whose full identity we are withholding, said it was a closed-door meeting: “It was privately endorsed as an opportunity for frontline local organisations in Govan to present their own data on the issues surrounding austerity.

“The totality of the Corbyn meeting was on the subject of austerity, and Labour’s promise to end it.”

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Jay said the meeting swung towards austerity being brought on by the Tories with the association of the SNP.

“It was quite an alarming accusation against the SNP, as the Labour leadership before Corbyn were the sole architects of austerity,” said Jay, adding that the audience profile seemed to ensure that no blame would attach to Corbyn’s party: “The organisations present on the day had been hand-picked by Scottish Labour community campaigners.

“As a number of key organisations in Govan were excluded, or simply not contacted for their input, it was apparent that those around the table had been selected primarily on their support for Corbyn’s labour, as most of them spoke of this.

“The problem with this approach from Scottish Labour is that many key and essential organisations in Govan, who are really making a difference in the local context, were left out of the session. And, on speaking to Labour’s community organisers, they said they wanted to keep it within a support for the Labour movement.”

Jay said that it demonstrated a lack of transparency, and added: “It could be argued that the whole event was political opportunism, as Leonard and Corbyn assigned themselves to only three minutes of questions from each table of representatives on the issue of austerity.”

Scottish Labour was approached for comment and would only give us the press release they had issued promoting the event, which reads in part: “Jeremy Corbyn visited Glasgow to meet people suffering under austerity. With Richard Leonard and Glasgow South West candidate Matt Kerr, he met voluntary organisations and charities working to address the consequences of austerity, including food banks, toy donation appeals and credit unions.”