Piers Corbyn arrested over leaflets comparing Covid vaccine programme to Auschwitz

Anti-lockdown campaigner, 73, held over ‘malicious material’ shared in London

Adam Forrest
Thursday 04 February 2021 19:17 GMT
Piers Corbyn is the elder brother of ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
Piers Corbyn is the elder brother of ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (Victoria Jones/PA)
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Piers Corbyn has been arrested over leaflets comparing Britain’s coronavirus vaccination programme to the Nazi death camp Auschwitz.

The pamphlet – which credits the anti-lockdown campaigner and elder brother of ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with the “concept” of the Auschwitz cartoon – was reported to police by Labour MP Neil Coyle, who said he was “absolutely sickened” by it.

Metropolitan Police confirmed on Thursday that officers had arrested two men following an investigation into reports of “malicious material” shared in south London. 

A 73-year-old man was arrested on “suspicion of malicious communications and public nuisance”, while a 37-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of a public order offence.

Scotland Yard said the leaflets had contained material that appeared to compare the Covid-19 vaccination programme with the Holocaust.

Leaflet distributed to London homes comparing vaccine programme to Auschwitz
Leaflet distributed to London homes comparing vaccine programme to Auschwitz (Handout)

The pamphlet featured a cartoon of the extermination camp, with the infamous sign “Arbeit macht frei” (Work sets you free) changed to “Vaccines are safe path to freedom”.

Mr Corbyn confirmed earlier this week to the Evening Standard that he was part of a group that had created the leaflet. He was credited alongside illustrator Alexander Heaton.

The pamphlets are believed to have be delivered to homes across Barnet in north London, home to a large Jewish population, and in Southwark in the south of the capital.

The material had been reported to police by Mr Coyle, MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, who said he was “absolutely sickened by anti-vax conspiracy theory crackpot leaflets put through some doors in SE17”.

He added: “Sickening when people trying to stay home and safe. Hideous imagery and asking Southwark police for action against these disgusting, dangerous cranks.”

Mike Katz, the national secretary of the Jewish Labour Movement said on Twitter that the material was “beyond disgusting. Vile and dangerous. The only thing that isn’t surprising about the conspiratorial crank depths this sinks to is the fact that Piers Corbyn is behind it.”

Mr Corbyn – a conspiracy theorist and climate change denier – has been arrested several times since lockdown restrictions were introduced last spring.

Most recently he was one of 17 people arrested at anti-lockdown demonstration at London’s Hyde Park on 2 January. In December, he was found guilty and fined for breaking Covid laws during a similar protest at Hyde Park last May.

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