Jeremy Corbyn warned of 'European empire' and said EU treaty would create 'a military Frankenstein'

Footage from 2009 shows current Labour leader saying Nato is 'malevolent' and 'a global military force with no democratic control'

Benjamin Kentish
Political Correspondent
Wednesday 06 February 2019 12:30 GMT

Jeremy Corbyn warned about the threat of "a European empire" and said the EU was creating "a military Frankenstein", a video has revealed.

In a tirade against a key EU treaty in 2009, the now Labour leader urged people in Ireland to vote against moves towards further European integration and criticised the influence of the Nato military alliance.

He condemned the "militarisation of Europe" and described the impact of Nato as "malevolent".

The newly unearthed footage was published by the Red Roar website.

Speaking at a rally before the 2009 Irish referendum on whether to approve the Lisbon Treaty, which paved the way for more EU integration, Mr Corbyn, then a backbench MP, said: "Under the terms of the Lisbon Treaty, Europe will become subservient to the wishes of Nato and the aims of Nato....What it does is create this military machine, this military Frankenstein, which will be so damaging to all of us."

The MP said Nato was "a global military force with no democratic control, no accountability whatsoever" and added: "We are creating for ourselves here one massive great Frankenstein which will damage all of us in the long run."

Continuing his condemnation of Nato, he said: "Nato's influence has been malevolent, to say the least, on every economy of every country that's been part of it: it's increased vastly military expenditure, it's poured a vast amount of money into the hands of arms manufacturers and aircraft manufacturers and developed for itself this huge power which was far greater than the influence of any one military in any one country. It is also largely unaccountable."

Mr Corbyn said a vote in Ireland against the Lisbon Treaty would be "such a boost to people like us" who "do not want to live in a European empire of the 21st century."

"I obviously hope and believe that the Irish people will vote no," he said.

He was speaking shortly before Ireland's second referendum on the treaty. The first, in 2008, delivered a vote against it being adopted.

Mr Corbyn also suggested the EU would make Irish voters "keep on voting until they get the result they want”. Ireland eventually voted to support the Lisbon Treaty, allowing its ratification by all EU member states.

After the footage emerged, Mr Corbyn was praised by former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, who wrote on Twitter: "Love this speech by Corbyn on the second Irish referendum. He is a real Eurosceptic. His role will be crucial over the next few weeks.

A spokesman for Mr Corbyn said: “Jeremy’s criticisms of the Lisbon Treaty over a lack of democracy in the EU, its strengthening of neoliberal economic policies and potential military expansion are well known. That’s why he campaigned both to remain and reform in the 2016 EU referendum, so it could live up to the promise of a social Europe.”

The Labour leader believes that the option of another public vote on Brexit "must remain an option on the table to prevent the damage of a no-deal exit from the EU", they added.

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The video emerged as the Polish embassy hit out at Labour over a video depicting antisemitism in Poland.

The film, released to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, shows footage of far-right demonstrations in Poland and features Labour peer Alf Dubs, who fled the Nazis as a Kindertransport refugee, talking about antisemitism.

But in a tweet, the Polish embassy in the UK said: "The use of images from Poland portrays the Polish society as antisemitic and is a hurtful overgeneralisation. Contrary to what is shown in the video, Poland is one of the safest countries in Europe for Jews. We insist that the video is taken down and an apology made."

Labour did not respond to request for comment on the matter.

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