Nia Griffith breaks with Corbyn to back May over Russian Federation

16 March, 2018, 01:40 | Author: Pamela Mathis
  • Mrs Green a Labour member was placed under investigation a year ago after her anti Semitic comments came to light

A group of Labour MPs led by John Woodcock have defied their leader and tabled a motion offering their support for the Government's expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats.

And he asked what action the United Kingdom was taking with its allies through the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons.

Asked if she was at odds with Mr Corbyn on the issue, Ms Griffith said she was more "plain speaking" than her leader and said he had made it clear in "the subsequent statement that he put out" on Wednesday evening that Labour was "fully supportive" of the Government's actions.

Asked if Mr Corbyn had undermined United Kingdom security assessments that it was "highly likely" Russian Federation was behind their poisoning, Ms Griffith said: "Looking back, perhaps it would have been easier for us if he had made it clear at the beginning of what he said, just how much we support the expulsion of the diplomats".

The Labour briefing had close echoes to the Russian government's response to the UK's condemnation.

The Labour leader condemned the "appalling" attack but pressed the PM on whether the United Kingdom had supplied traces of the nerve agent used in the attack to Russian Federation for analysis before Wednesday's deadline, as the Kremlin had asked.

Iain Dale was left with his hands on his head in despair as he clashed with a university lecturer over Jeremy Corbyn's response to the PM's statement on Russian Federation. However, also there is a history in relation to weapons of mass destruction and intelligence which is problematic, to put it mildly.

Mr Corbyn said the PM appeared not to have ruled out the possibility that someone else may have obtained the toxin. He said: "We welcome the decisive action that has been taken by the Prime Minister today and it sits in contrast with the policy of appeasement that we have heard from the frontbench of the Labour Party".

"So, I think the right approach is to seek the evidence to follow global treaties, particularly in relation to prohibitive chemical weapons".

He said the most likely explanation was Russian Federation that was "directly or indirectly responsible" for the attack but "culpability takes many forms".

Nia Griffith, the shadow Defence Secretary, took a swipe at Mr Corbyn's controversial Commons appearance when he was heckled by Tory MPs and experienced barely-veiled criticism from his own side.

"There are strict protocols that must be followed now, but we can not accept any kind of outrage of this kind on United Kingdom soil".

Mr Corbyn was briefed on Privy Council terms ahead of Wednesday's statement about the intelligence behind Mrs May's assessment that Moscow was culpable for the attack.

Labour MP Anna Turley tweeted: "I'm afraid Seumas doesn't speak for my Labour or British values", while Chuka Umunna said: "Mr Milne's comments do not represent the views of the majority of our voters, members or MPs". "What more evidence does he require?"

Several shadow ministers are known to have been angered by their leaders' tone, triggering speculation that Mr Corbyn could face resignations from his top team.

Asked why the Labour leader had not given his unequivocal support of the government in the Commons, she said: "He's made it clear in subsequent statements".

Is Labour heading for a painful and bitter split?


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