Corbyn’s terror U-turn: too little, too late?

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has had to backpedal on comments he made on the government’s 'shoot-to-kill' policy. Emily Hohler reports.


Jeremy Corbyn: a "f***ing disgrace"

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn reversed his opposition to the government's "shoot-to-kill" policy in the event of a terror attack, after being openly challenged by his own MPs for telling the BBC that he was "not happy" with the idea and thought it could be "quite dangerous" and "counter-productive". On Monday, he was "aggressively heckled" during an angry meeting with Labour MPs, says Jon Stone in The Independent, with one shadow minister branding him a "f***ing disgrace".

The next day he was "humiliated" in the Commons as his own MPs "lined up to condemn him and his supporters as apologists for terrorists", says Matt Chorley in the Daily Mail. In a "desperate scramble to repair the damage", he wrote to Labour's ruling National Executive Committee saying he would "support the use of whatever proportionate and strictly necessary force is required to save life in response to attacks of the kind we sawin Paris".

There is also said to be dissent over Corbyn's opposition to military action in Syria, and speculation that the shadow foreign secretary, Hilary Benn, will quit the frontbench if Corbyn attends the Stop the War Coalition's Christmas fundraising party, says Matt Dathan in The Independent. The anti-war pressure group came under "intense fire" from Labour MPs after posting a blog on its website (since deleted) titled: "Paris reaps whirlwind of Western support for extremist violence in Middle East".

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This episode is deeply regrettable, says Matthew Norman in The Independent. We need Corbyn to lead the opposition to a bombing campaign in Syria by arguing with "calm and cogent passion" about the counter-productive nature of "indulging the reflex desire for vengeance". "Just as the US response to 9/11 seemed directly lifted from Osama bin Laden's bucket list", the response of Francois Hollande and David Cameron to the outrage in Paris plays into Islamic State's (IS's) hands. But by coming across as "devoid of visceral revulsion and fury" about what happened in Paris and so setting himself apart from the rest of us, Corbyn has robbed himself of a hearing.

Corbyn's supporters presenthim as a "decent, principledand compassionate man", says Dan Hodges in The Daily Telegraph. But "as the piles of sawdust on the streets of Paris show, we do not have the luxury of indulging such nonsense". Corbyn addressed Hamas as "friends"; he appointed as shadow chancellor John McDonnell, who said the "peace we have now is due to the action of the IRA".

Neither Corbyn nor McDonnell "actively supports terrorism", but their instinct and "need to appease a constituency that views IS and Western imperialism' as different sides of the same coin means that, were they ever called on to confront the terrorists practically, they would falter.Reduced surveillance. Reduced global anti-terror cooperation. No airstrikes against IS in Syria or Iraq. No drone strikes anywhere. Direct Stop the War input into UK security policy."

Labour MPs have to get rid of Corbyn. If they don't, every one of them will be "tainted by the Tory charge that Labour cannot be trusted to keep this country safe".

Emily Hohler

Emily has worked as a journalist for more than thirty years and was formerly Assistant Editor of MoneyWeek, which she helped launch in 2000. Prior to this, she was Deputy Features Editor of The Times and a Commissioning Editor for The Independent on Sunday and The Daily Telegraph. She has written for most of the national newspapers including The Times, the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, The Evening Standard and The Daily Mail, She interviewed celebrities weekly for The Sunday Telegraph and wrote a regular column for The Evening Standard. As Political Editor of MoneyWeek, Emily has covered subjects from Brexit to the Gaza war.

Aside from her writing, Emily trained as Nutritional Therapist following her son's diagnosis with Type 1 diabetes in 2011 and now works as a practitioner for Nature Doc, offering one-to-one consultations and running workshops in Oxfordshire.