Why has Jeremy Corbyn been banned from the Parliamentary Beard of the Year competition?
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn must be feeling bristled. He’s been excluded from a key parliamentary vote – the annual beard of the year. But why has the white-whiskered working class hero been trimmed from the shortlist?
As a seven-time winner, Corbyn’s chin warmer has been too successful according to organizers from the Beard Liberation Front (BLF), who decided to exclude him from this year’s list.
The award is given to the politician judged to have “made the most hirsute impact” in the last 12 months rather than to the most commendable facial furnishings. The BLF campaigns in support of beards and against pogonophobic discrimination, its Wikipedia page explains.
The 2017 shortlist includes long-term beard wearers such as Labour’s John Spellar and Barry Gardiner, as well as more recent beard growers like Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi.
Crossbench peer Lord Hylton, who currently sports a Gandalfian long white, is leading the poll alongside Labour backbencher Ian Murray, who only sprouted in the summer.
BLF’s organizer Keith Flett says Corbyn was declared ineligible for the coveted title “to allow new Parliamentary beards to blossom in the poll.” Corbyn’s success in the contest is at least in part due to him being one of only a very small group of bearded MPs before facial hair became fashionable again.
“The number of parliamentarians with beards has significantly increased since the days when Jeremy Corbyn was a lonely backbench advocate for the Beard Liberation Front, but they are still very much a minority against male MPs.”
“More parliamentarians than ever have Brexited shaving this year, so we expect the poll to be a very close shave.” Boom boom.
Last year, Flett congratulated Corbyn on the victory but expressed concern at the way he treated his beard. “He trims his beard rather too much for our liking but you can kind of understand it at this time of year because if you didn’t you might look like Santa,” he said at the time.
“He has always been keen to promote his beard and I think he sees it as being a distinctive part of his persona; less so now because there’s so many other MPs with beards.”