Monday, 23 July, 2018

Corbyn warns against 'McCarthyite intolerance of dissent' over Russian Federation accusations

Jeremy Corbyn the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn backs his spokesman on Russia
Charlie Simmons | 17 March, 2018, 02:03

On substance, Mr Corbyn has little to say.

The Labour leader has been given security briefings on the incident, but the spokesman said the Government may have more information.

'The worldwide chemical weapons convention must be invoked and the source of this weapon, which appears to be Russian Federation either from the state or from a rogue element of the state, must be brought to justice as a result of it.

Earlier, his shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith said the party accepted "Russia was responsible".

The Labour leader has been hit with a mounting revolt from his own side over his failure to condemn Moscow following the attempted murder of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

On Question Time, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: "I'd be deeply uncomfortable about the security of the United Kingdom if Jeremy Corbyn became prime minister".

While her sanctions were not as tough as they could have been, and were condemned as "hostile" by Moscow, they managed the rare feat of uniting MPs of all stripes behind her. But let us not manufacture a division over Russian Federation where none exists", Corbyn said, adding, "Labour is of course no supporter of the Putin regime, its conservative authoritarianism, abuse of human rights or political and economic corruption.

'There can and should be the basis for a common political response to this crime.

Why has this caused a problem?

They also backed Mrs May's response to the attack, including the expulsion of the Russian diplomats.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4 Today programme, Ms Griffith said sought to realign Labour's position with the Government's, saying: "We very much accept that what the Prime Minister said, that this was a very sophisticated agent and that Russian Federation is responsible for this attack, and therefore we are fully supporting the measures which the Government is taking including the expulsion of the 23 diplomats". "We very much accept that what the Prime Minister said - this is a very sophisticated nerve agent and Russian Federation is responsible for this attack and therefore we're fully supporting the measures which the government is taking, including the expulsion of 23 diplomats", she said.

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She said: "I think this situation is very different".

Even the usually super-loyal shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry declared in the Commons that there was "prima facie evidence" against Russian Federation, and supported all the measures announced by the government in response to it.

Some 53 per cent approved of Mrs May's handling, while 23 per cent said she had performed badly.

He defied his critics today by again refusing to lay the blame for the attack at the door of Vladimir Putin - instead suggesting the mafia might be behind the use of military-grade nerve agent.

"It's something they haven't even tried to do - so, therefore they have to face the consequences".

Mr Corbyn continued in similar vein, working the House, or rather working up the House, as it turned out.

Asked on Thursday about his tone during Commons exchanges, Mr Corbyn said he was "extremely definite" in his response to Mrs May. The perpetrators must be brought to justice.

When pressed on the issue, he added: 'The evidence points towards Russian Federation on this, therefore responsibility must be borne by those that made the weapon, those that brought the weapon into the country and those that used the weapon.

He said the most likely explanation was Russian Federation that was "directly or indirectly responsible" for the attack but "culpability takes many forms".

Owen Smith, who once challenged MR Corbyn for the leadership but was later taken into the Shadow Cabinet, tweeted his support for an editorial in The Guardian.

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