Jeremy Corbyn would be a better prime minister than Theresa May – Lee Child

By Keiran Southern, Los Angeles Correspondent for the Press Association

Jeremy Corbyn would be a better prime minister than Theresa May, leading author Lee Child has said.

The writer, best known for his Jack Reacher series of books which were made into Hollywood films starring Tom Cruise, also claimed Brexit was being handled by “fourth-rate idiots”.

Child was born in Coventry but now lives in New York and admitted he gets fed-up of returning home after “about 35 minutes at Heathrow”.

Lee Child was born in Coventry but now lives in New York (Ian West/PA)

He blamed the UK’s “regulations” for making him feel “nagged to death” but said he keeps an eye on British politics and believes Mr Corbyn would be an upgrade on Mrs May.

Child painted the Labour leader as a “throwback” to the 1970s, a decade he “loved”, but added: “Britain’s problems are so huge that I don’t think any particular politician is going to solve them.

“I wouldn’t mind Corbyn as prime minister, for me he would be better than Theresa May but I wouldn’t expect him to be a giant figure in world history.”

Child, 63, said Britain risked being “another Zimbabwe” in five years due to Brexit, blaming “ignorant people” for Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.

He also criticised US president Donald Trump and argued both the UK and United States are “being run by complete incompetents”.

The author, whose real name is James Grant, was speaking as he prepared to launch the 2018 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, which will attract some of the genre’s biggest names to Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

Writer Lee Child believes Jeremy Corbyn would make a better prime minister than Theresa May (Yui Mok/PA)

John Grisham, the best-selling American writer, will be one of those in attendance and Child was full of praise for his contemporary.

He said: “The real appeal of Harrogate is it’s about the readers. A lot of these festivals, at least some strands, are about writing advice, or business advice, but there’s none of that here. It’s all for the readers.

“So a guy like Grisham, he is an exceptionally good writer. You don’t really see that in his books, overtly, but underneath he is really an experimental writer who is testing things in each book. I find that fascinating.

“For the readers he has one of the broadest appeals I have ever known. He has had a long career, he’s got millions of fans, he’s a major A-list star like Stephen King. It’s going to be great to have him there.”

The gender pay gap is one of the biggest political issues today, especially in Hollywood, where Child established himself with the success of the Jack Reacher film adaptions.

Tom Cruise stars as Jack Reacher in films based on the books (Ian West/PA)

But the author does not believe the literary world is guilty of the same unequal pay between men and women.

He said: “If you look at the sales, all the great, huge sellers are women. Tongue in cheek I would say if there’s an equality issue in crime fiction generally or probably books of any kind, it’s men who are in the minority.

“I think actually the book world is one of the most equal of all worlds and women are proving that by having tremendous success in every generation.

“The big, huge sensations tend to be women and publishing is run almost exclusively by women. Certainly in all the operational roles. So actually I think it’s one of the most open and equal arenas that we’ve got at the moment.”

The 2018 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, takes place between the 19 and 22 July at The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate.

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