A former leader of the Liberal Democrats made similar comments about the killing of Osama Bin Laden to those made by Jeremy Corbyn, it has emerged.
After Mr Bin Laden’s death Paddy Ashdown appeared on BBC’s Question Time programme and described the Al Qaeda leader’s “execution” without a trial as “wholly, wholly, wholly wrong”.
The comparison between Lord Ashdown’s comments and Mr Corbyn’s could be embarrassing for the Liberal Democrats, whose current leader Tim Farron branded the Labour leadership frontrunner’s view “utterly wrong”.
“Let me make this very clear: I belong to a country which was founded on the principle of the exercise of the due process of law. I am dedicated to that I have to say to you that it is not a good enough excuse to say that we will not follow due process because it’s too difficult,” the former leader told the programme in May 2011.
“To take that position is to undermine the very principle on which this country stands and to which I am dedicated. If you allow someone to be executed because the due process of law is too difficult to follow, you take a very dangerous step in exactly the wrong direction.”
He later added: “The point that I really objected to was [the] point that he should have been executed. That it seems to me is wholly, wholly, wholly wrong.
“The law is difficult: it’s the law and we should be following it. Are you saying we should not follow the due process because it happens to be uncomfortable?”
Around the same time, Mr Corbyn appeared on Iranian TV channel Press TV to criticise the fact Mr Bin Laden was not put on trial.
He described the fact the US and its allies were “descending deeper and deeper” towards using torture and extra-judicial killings as “a tragedy”.
Labour leadership: The Contenders
Labour leadership: The Contenders
1/2 Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn started off as the rank outsider in the race to replace Ed Miliband and admitted he was only standing to ensure the left of the party was given a voice in the contest. But the Islington North MP, who first entered Parliament in 1983, is now the firm favourite to be elected Labour leader on September 12 after a surge in left-wing supporters signing up for a vote.
2/2 Andy Burnham
Andy Burnham started out as the front-runner in the leadership election, seen as the candidate of the left until Jeremy Corbyn entered the race. The former Cabinet minister has found himself squeezed between the growing populism of Corbyn’s radical agenda and the moderate, centre-left Yvette Cooper, not knowing which way to turn. It has attracted damaging labels such as ‘flip-flop Andy’, most notably over his response to the Government’s Welfare Bill. He remains hopeful he can win enough second preference votes to take him over the 50 per cent threshold ahead of Corbyn.
“There was no attempt whatsoever that I can see to arrest him, to put him on trial, to go through that process,” he said.
“This was an assassination attempt, and is yet another tragedy, upon a tragedy, upon a tragedy. The World Trade Center was a tragedy, the attack on Afghanistan was a tragedy, the war in Iraq was a tragedy. Tens of thousands of people have died.
#Corbyn is utterly wrong. Bin Laden's death was not a tragedy. The tragedy was the 2,977 who died during that awful day. We remember them.— Tim Farron (@timfarron) August 30, 2015
“Torture has come back on to the world stage, been canonised virtually into law by Guantanamo and Bagram. Can't we learn some lessons from this? That we are just going to descend deeper and deeper…”
Lord Ashdown led the Liberal Democrats from their creation in 1988 until 1999.
Mr Corbyn’s words were reported again today exclusively by The Sun and Daily Mail newspapers as the Labour leadership contest draws to a close.Reuse content