The Daily Mail can disclose that the company Tommy set up with the support of his father has gone into liquidation with debts of £100,000.
Tommy Corbyn, pictured with his girlfriend Chloe Kerslake Smith, right, and his father Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn
Tommy Corbyn, pictured, launched his company, National Hemp Service, which was selling products made from the cannabis strain from a cafe in Islington, north London
Its collapse has infuriated its solitary investor Jeff Ditchfield, who has seen £30,000 from his pension fund go up in smoke. ‘My personal view is that it’s been put into liquidation because of mismanagement by the directors,’ said Mr Ditchfield.
He first met Tommy Corbyn and his girlfriend Chloe Kerslake-Smith in February. ‘They contacted me,’ said Mr Ditchfield, 59, a veteran campaigner for the legalisation of cannabis and author of The Medical Cannabis Guidebook and Cannabis Cultivator. ‘They were looking for an investor and experience.’ Tommy Corbyn and Miss Kerslake-Smith stand to lose £70,000 between them, with each having invested just over £35,000, official paperwork reveals.
Mr Ditchfield appeared on the Channel 4 documentary Bill Turnbull: Staying Alive, in which he gave cannabis oil to the former BBC Breakfast presenter who has prostate cancer.
Tommy Corbyn, pictured with his girlfriend Chloe Kerslake-Smith, right, launched the business in north London. The aim of the firm was to ‘champion help as a material for all different things’
He said his relationship with Corbyn junior and his girlfriend began to deteriorate in the summer. ‘In July I started asking some questions, which I thought were perfectly reasonable. For example, “Why the delay in opening the shop? What’s my investment been spent on so far?” And, within a week of me raising these – which I still think are very reasonable questions – they basically terminated our relationship.’
Tommy, 26, the youngest of Mr Corbyn’s three sons, had high hopes for the enterprise. ‘We think cannabis has been demonised for a long time,’ he told a local newspaper.
Jeff Ditchfield, pictured, said he was £30,000 out of pocket after he invested in the firm
He said that he and Miss Kerslake-Smith, 24, his co-director, wanted ‘to champion hemp as a material for all different things. We don’t want people to be afraid of the plants. We want to help push legalisation forward – it’s the answer to a lot of our health and sustainability issues.’
Only last month the Labour leader told the Mail he was giving Tommy the benefit of his business expertise. ‘I go there quite often to observe the building work and give my opinion. It’s doing really well,’ he said. ‘I’ve advised him to not take anything out of the business for as long as he can handle not to. Small business is very important. Don’t take anything out, put your efforts in.’
Liquidators were appointed on November 11. Mr Ditchfield said: ‘Currently, I’m £30,000 out of pocket. And I had to use some of my pension fund to make that investment.’
Yesterday the cafe’s shutters were half-down. Miss Kerslake-Smith answered the door and said NHS had ‘never actually launched yet’.
Asked about the liquidation, she said: ‘I’m not talking about it today. If you’re really interested, come back in a few weeks – we’ve got interesting stuff happening.’
Mr Ditchfield said: ‘Effectively that comment from Chloe is, “Come back after the election. We can’t **** up my boyfriend’s father’s chances of becoming Prime Minister”.’ Tommy Corbyn declined to comment.
But his father surely has an infallible solution for any failing enterprise – nationalisation.