Matthew Taylor

Sunday political interviews round-up: Corbyn refuses to explicitly condemn the IRA

Sunday political interviews round-up: Corbyn refuses to explicitly condemn the IRA
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Jeremy Corbyn - 'All bombing should be condemned'

Jeremy Corbyn refused on several occasions to explicitly condemn the bombing campaign of the IRA in the 1980s, repeatedly insisting instead that 'all bombing is wrong'. Asked six times by Sophy Ridge about his stance on the issue, Corbyn appeared reluctant to single out condemnation of the IRA. Instead, he made clear his opposition to all bombing:

SR: Time and time again it does appear as though you backed people who opposed the British forces. You were arrested at a demonstration in support of an IRA terrorist in 1986. You were a regular at IRA linked 'Troops Out rallies'. You didn't support the SDLP who were trying to pursue a united Ireland through peaceful means. So how can you say you were trying to talk to all sides of the agreement when it does appear as though there was one clear side that you were backing, and that is hard line republicans?'

JC: I worked with colleagues in Parliament, in the SDLP and the Labour party. I visited Northern Ireland on a number of occasions. I met people from right across the spectrum, I went on delegations with the Northern Ireland Committee of the Parliamentary Labour Party. I represent a constituency which has a very large number of Irish people living in it and I pointed out that the Prevention of Terrorism Act was counterproductive and was criminalising large numbers of wholly innocent Irish people. I took up the cause of the Guildford Four and Birmingham Six who were grotesquely misjudged by British courts and eventually were freed on the decision of the High court in Britain and I wanted to bring about peace in Britain. you have to talk with people with whom you don't agree, and I did.

Ridge pressed him by asking if he could 'condemn, unequivocally the IRA?':

JC: Look, bombing is wrong, of course all bombing is wrong, and of course I can do it.

SR: But can you condemn the IRA without equating it to...

JC: No, I think what you have to say is that all bombing has to be condemned and you have to bring about a peace process. Listen...

SR: So do you condemn the IRA?

JC: Can you let me finish please? In the 1980s, Britain was looking for a military solution in Ireland. It clearly was never going to work - ask anyone in the British army at that time. And therefore you have to seek a peace process. You condemn the violence of those that laid bombs that killed large numbers of innocent people and I do.

Corbyn also paid tribute to the Blair government in the early 1990s which oversaw the Good Friday Agreement, a feat which he said 'became a bit of a model around the word'.

Peter Dowd - Corbyn was 'trying to move the peace process along'

Later, on the Sunday Politics, Andrew Neil spoke to Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Peter Dowd about Corbyn's refusal to categorically condemn the IRA's bombing campaign. He ran a clip from the Stephen Nolan show from 2015 when Corbyn was running to be leader, where he had proved similarly hesitant on the subject. Neil asked Dowd if he could explain why this should be:

AN: Can you explain why the leader of the Labour Party, Her Majesty's Opposition, the man who would be our next Prime Minister, finds it so hard to condemn IRA bombing?

PD: ... I think it has to be run in the context that Jeremy Corbyn for many years [was] trying to move the peace process along.

AN: But if you're trying to move a peace process along, why wouldn't you condemn IRA bombing?

PD: ...Again, that was an issue, a traumatic event in Irish-British relations that went on for 30 years and it is a complicated matter...

AN: Bombing's not that complicated. If you're a man of peace, surely you would condemn the bomb and the bullet?

PD: Let me say this, I condemn the bomb and the bullet.

AN: Why won't your leader just say that?

PD: You'd have to ask Jeremy Corbyn, but that was in the context of what he was trying to do over the 30 year period, or 25 year period, to move the peace process along.'

Damian Green: We won't look again at changes to social care

Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green was quizzed by Andrew Marr on the Conservative's latest proposals on social care. Marr challenged Green by referring to a potential situation where a couple in Twickenham owning a house worth £545,000 could lose everything if they were forced to pay for the cost of their care:

AM: ...Under your proposals, they could lose virtually everything. Their children and their grandchildren who were hoping to inherit some of that wealth won't be able to. What is Conservative about that? It was going to be £500,000 it's now £100,000.

DG: £100,000 is a reasonable inheritance to have, and people who are lucky enough to have had great rises in property value will still I think decide that £100,000 is the best way of doing it, but this has to be put in context of funding social care system... Our answers to that problem mean that more money goes in to the social care system... nobody will have to lose their home during their lifetime or the lifetime of their surviving spouse. This is a much fairer system...

AM: The Conservatives used to believe in inheritance. This is a vast secret inheritance tax!... The Bow Group says that this is the biggest stealth tax in history...

DG: And the Bow Group is wrong... You've also got to be fair to people working now and paying taxes. That is the only other way to pay for the care system... This system we are proposing is fair both to pensioners... but also to working tax payers.

Marr put the proposition to Green that 'People hate this policy and it makes that very very nervous indeed. Is there any chance you're going to look at it again?' Green responded by saying:

'No... we have set out this policy, which we're not going to look at again... We all know that the long term solution to the social care crisis is better integration of the NHS and social care. That's the aim of our policy and this is the first step along that road.'

Tim Farron: Dementia Tax 'will be Theresa May's Poll Tax'

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron launched a scathing attack on Theresa May's proposals for what he refers to as a 'dementia tax' on social care. Speaking to Sophy Ridge, Farron stated:

TF: They have chosen a dementia tax. If you or your loved one has or will get dementia, they are coming for you and that tells you two things. First of all it tells you a little bit about the character of those at the top of the Conservative party - mean, calculating, uncaring. It also tells you that the Conservatives think they have this in the bag. Their colossal Margaret Thatcher scale landslide is coming and they can take you all for granted... If you fear the dementia tax, and I do for me, for my family for everybody in our communities around the country. If you fear it, you've got two and a half weeks to do something about it.'

Farron went on to outline his party's alternative: 'Health and social care is in crisis, so we'll put a penny on income tax, we'll be straight with you, to raise the money needed to make our health and social care systems the best in the world. You contrast that with the nastiness of Theresa May's dementia tax, which will become Theresa May's version of the poll tax, and my prediction is it will bring her down, because to show such callousness to people in desperate need and their families and a time like this, maybe out of the meanness of the Conservative's character, but also the calculating nature of their position - thinking they're already won the general election, so they can get away with this kind of stuff'.

Boris Johnson wrongly claims that Vote Leave's £350 million commitment for the NHS is in the Tory manifesto

ITV's Robert Peston invited viewers to put questions to the Foreign Secretary and many asked about why the infamous commitment made by the Leave campaign during the referendum that the NHS would receive £350 million extra a week once the UK left the European Union. One viewer asked why it was not in the Conservative manifesto, though Mr Johnson mistakenly believed that it was.

RP: Why is it not in the manifesto?

BJ: It is actually, it is...

RP: It's not there...

BJ: ...And Theresa May, she said it...

RP: It's not! It's not there!

BJ: She said it at the launch of our manifesto...

RP: She didn't! I was there! You were there loyally clapping...

BJ: Absolutely right.

RP: Do you like the way you're all being bossed around?

BJ: Yes!... Anything we can do to intensify the fundamental contrast of this election which is between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn. That's the choice before the people of this country. Do they really want Jeremy Corbyn in those negotiations? Because I tell you something I don't!

It wasn't Boris's first gaffe of the programme either. As Peston was chatting to his other guests, Jess Phillips and Nicholas Soames, Johnson was caught on camera trying to rifle surreptitiously through Robert Peston's briefing notes...