Jeremy Corbyn agrees with Prince Harry that there are “racial undertones” in the coverage of his wife Meghan by the UK media, Labour has said.

A spokesperson for the Labour leader said he had “spoken out” about the issue and “understands how press intrusion can have a negative impact on people and their private lives”.

The comment comes amid controversy over the royal couple’s decision to scale back their public activities and move to Canada for part of the year. Harry complained in 2016 of a “wave of abuse and harassment” suffered by Meghan after their relationship became public, pointing to what he said had been “racial undertones” in media comment pieces.

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Asked following Prime Minister’s Questions whether Mr Corbyn was concerned about a racial element in the treatment of the Duchess of Sussex, the Labour spokesman said: “Jeremy’s commented in the past in relation to Prince Harry and Meghan, about press intrusion and its impact on people and their families and, to use Prince Harry’s words, the racial undertones in relation to how the media has approached Meghan.

“He has spoken out about the concerns and obviously understands how press intrusion can have a negative impact on people and their private lives.”

Asked if Mr Corbyn agreed with Prince Harry that there were racial undertones in the way the press has treated Meghan, the spokesperson replied: “Yes.”

His words come shortly after unsuccessful Labour leadership candidate Clive Lewis said that the “structural racism” of UK society could be seen in the way the media have treated Meghan.

“We know this is a reality of the 21st century still after 400 years of racism,” said the Norwich South MP last weekend.

But home secretary Priti Patel dismissed the idea that the Duchess had been the victim of racism, telling the BBC that people of any background “can get on in life” in the UK.

Asked directly if she believed the media had been in any way racist towards Meghan, Ms Patel replied: “I don’t think so, no.

“I certainly haven’t seen that through any debates or commentary or things of that nature.”

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