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Jeremy Corbyn backs Big Issue single as Christmas No 1 race hots up

The Labour leader called on his 1.6 million followers to get behind Phil Ryan’s bid to battle Ed Sheeran and Beyonce for coveted spot

Jeremy Corbyn has given his seal of approval to the Big Issue Christmas single as Phil Ryan takes on heavyweights Ed Sheeran and Beyonce to secure the No 1 spot.

The Labour leader praised Walking Down The Lonely Street in a message to his 1.6 million Twitter followers, thanking them for helping to tackle homelessness over the festive season.

Corbyn, who spoke exclusively to The Big Issue ahead of June’s election, tweeted: “Great song by @philryanmusic for the @BigIssue.

“Thank you to everyone who is fundraising, volunteering and doing what they can to help homeless people this Christmas.”

He is the second political leader in a week to pledge support for the Yuletide song after Vince Cable turned out for The Blue Sky Network Campaign Against Homelessness event in London’s Waterloo rail station on Friday.

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The Liberal Democrats chief joined Big Issue founder Lord John Bird at the event as well as Ryan who performed the tune live.

Cable said: “Well over 4,000 people are estimated to be sleeping rough every night in England, a 16% increase in 2016 alone.

“There is a responsibility on politicians to highlight the scale of the problem.

“The situation is deteriorating at a rapid rate. There must be more government funding to tackle homelessness as a matter of urgency,” continued Cable.

“There are rough sleepers, beyond that are sofa hoppers who no-one is counting, and beyond that the people in temporary accommodation.

“Supporting The Big Issue Christmas single is an excellent cause – and it’s a good song to boot!”

Phil Ryan, who was part of the team that launched The Big Issue 26 years ago, wrote Walking Down This Lonely Street to address the loneliness and mental isolation that many people face on the streets.

But the former Animals man is facing stiff competition for festive glory from everyone from Ed Sheeran and Beyonce to the likes of Ball and Boe, Alexander Armstrong and even Shane Richie.

We’re also asking you, the Big Issue readers, to get involved and share your own version of the songs on social media using the lyrics and chords directly from Phil’s pen.

The single is available now on all major music online stores, including the iTunes and Google Play stores, priced at just 99p with all proceeds going to The Big Issue Company to support their work in dismantling poverty.

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