Diane Abbott suffers new car crash interview trying to defend Jeremy Corbyn over IRA claims

Labour's shadow Home Secretary appears to suggest that when Jeremy Corbyn shared a platform with convicted IRA terrorists he did not actually meet them

Tom Peck
Saturday 27 May 2017 14:15
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Abbott tries to defend Corbyn over IRA claims: "He met with Sinn Fein"

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott has suggested that when Jeremy Corbyn shared a platform with a number of convicted IRA terrorists, he did not actually meet them.

In his interview with the BBC’s Andrew Neil on Friday night, the Labour leader said he had “never met the IRA.”

Appearing on LBC radio on Saturday morning, Ms Abbott, his close friend and ally, was asked about this claim by Iain Dale, who read from a long list of occasions in which Mr Corbyn has appeared on stage at political events with a number of people who have been jailed for terrorism offences, including bomber Brendan McKenna and IRA member Raymond McCartney.

Diane Abbott forced to listen back to car-crash interview on live TV

Ms Abbott said: “He met with Sinn Fein. I think his understanding is he met with them in a capacity as activists in Sinn Fein.

“I think we have to distinguish between conducting private meetings and supporting violent attacks and actually being on a platform.”

The shadow Home Secretary was also asked about her own comments in a 1988 interview in an Irish Republican journal, in which she reportedly said: “Every defeat of the British state is a victory for all of us. A defeat in Northern Ireland would be a defeat indeed.”

Ms Abbott said the comment was made 34 years ago and that she had since “moved on”.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said of the interview: “Jeremy Corbyn’s lies have been exposed by his own shadow Home Secretary. Just hours after Corbyn claimed he had never met the IRA, Diane Abbott says he did – and she disgracefully sought to defend it.

“It is increasingly clear that Jeremy Corbyn will make up anything in an attempt to mislead voters. He’s pretending he didn’t support the IRA, just like he is pretending he won’t raise taxes and pretending he will replace our Trident nuclear deterrent.

“The risks of Jeremy Corbyn becoming prime minister, in charge of our Brexit negotiations and our security, are enormous.

“And Jeremy Corbyn would make Diane Abbott Home Secretary – putting a woman who refused to outlaw al-Qaeda and wants open-door immigration in charge of our security and our borders. Only a vote for Theresa May and the Conservatives will stop this happening.”

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