Thursday 17 August 2017

Corbyn feels the heat over his refusal to condemn IRA

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks during a visit to the Pagoda Arts and the Wah Sing Chinese Community centre as he campaigns for the upcoming general election in Liverpool, England. Photo: GETTY
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks during a visit to the Pagoda Arts and the Wah Sing Chinese Community centre as he campaigns for the upcoming general election in Liverpool, England. Photo: GETTY

Gavin Cordon

The Tories have launched a furious onslaught on UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, accusing him of "siding with Britain's enemies" by refusing to unequivocally condemn the IRA.

The pressure on Mr Corbyn comes amid signs his party is gaining significant ground in the opinion polls.

The leader came under fire after a TV interview in which he faced repeated questions over whether he condemned the IRA. Mr Corbyn - who attended rallies and protests organised by the republican-backed Troops Out movement in the 1980s - said he condemned "all bombing" but had been trying to open up a peace process.

British Security Minister Ben Wallace said voters would be "outraged" by his refusal to "unequivocally" condemn the IRA.

Mr Corbyn's comments came during an interview with Sky News's 'Sophy Ridge On Sunday' show in which he defended his contacts with republicans in the midst of IRA bombings.

"In the 1980s, Britain was looking for a military solution in Ireland. It clearly was never going to work. Ask anyone in the British Army at that time," he said.

"Therefore you have to seek a peace process. You condemn the violence of those that laid bombs that killed large numbers of innocent people and I do."

Pressed as to whether he would "condemn the IRA without equating it to ...?", Mr Corbyn replied: "No, I think what you have to say is all bombing has to be condemned and you have to bring about a peace process."

Mr Wallace said: "People up and down the country will rightly be outraged that Jeremy Corbyn won't unequivocally condemn the IRA for the bloodshed, bombs and brutal murders they inflicted on a generation of innocent people."

Meanwhile, four polls for the Sunday newspapers put Labour between 35pc and 33pc, up significantly on the scores as low as 26pc it was recording early in the campaign. The Tory advantage was just nine points in one survey by YouGov for the 'Sunday Times', prompting talk of a "wobble weekend".

One of the polls found that people were more likely to say that Labour rather than the Tories had the best policies for older people and pensioners - with 37pc supporting such a view.

Irish Independent

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