Former Kremlin adviser and all-round nutjob Alexander Nekrassov tells Good Morning Britain “Jeremy Corbyn was right”. He even says there is no evidence the Skripals were even attacked. As if further proof were needed that Jezza and Seumas are Russia’s not-very useful idiots…
— BBC Question Time (@bbcquestiontime) 15 March 2018
Keir Starmer is the most senior Shadow Cabinet minister so far to publicly abandon Jeremy Corbyn over his position on Russia. On Question Time last night Starmer said the attack should be “condemned by all of us without reservation” and that Russia was responsible – “no ifs, no buts”. Starmer strongly backed the government and Theresa May…
Starmer’s intervention followed the publication of an article in the Guardian last night by Jezza in which he doubled down on his previous statements to the Commons. In the piece he again directly refused to blame Russia for the attack. Instead he suggested the government had taken a “McCarthyite” stance. Jezza wrote:
“This horrific event demands first of all the most thorough and painstaking criminal investigation, conducted by our police and security services. To rush way ahead of the evidence being gathered by the police, in a fevered parliamentary atmosphere, serves neither justice nor our national security.”
The article came as a Sky Data poll found just 18% of people thought Corbyn was doing a good job over the Russia crisis. Will this damaging week move the polls?
Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary Nia Griffith was at odds with her leader over his response to Russia’s suspected poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. Griffiths told BBC Radio 4:
“We very much accept that what the prime minister said – this is a very sophisticated nerve agent and Russia is responsible for this attack and therefore we’re fully supporting the measures which the government is taking, including the expulsion of 23 diplomats.”
That’s much tougher than Corbyn’s words in the Commons yesterday. Griffith also said of Seumas: “I cannot speak for Seumas Milne. He has to speak for himself.” Griffith and Team Corbyn have a long history of falling out, particularly over NATO and nukes…
Her line and overnight pressure following Milne’s briefing has bounced Corbyn’s office politburo into revising their position. They now say:
“The Government has laid out two alternatives: that Russia is either directly responsible or culpable because it lost control of this nerve agent. Yesterday, we agreed that the evidence overwhelmingly points to those two alternatives. The Russian authorities must be held to account on the basis of the evidence and our response must be both decisive and proportionate.”
Too late, the damage is done…
At the Kremlin Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin settles into his golden throne to watch Prime Minister’s Questions and the accompanying statement. As a jack-booted servant flicks over from Russia Today, Vlad wonders aloud: “Who’s the thin old beardy bloke in the red tie?”
“That’s Jeremy Corbyn”, replies the trembling aide. “Who?” demands Putin, never more than a moment from a nuclear-level rage, or worse, offering to make an adviser’s tea. “You know, Mr President. Codename COB…”
The almond-eyed tyrant purses his lips then raises a smile. An FSB man never forgets a codename.
“Ah, da, da,” he whispers. “Activate Agent COB…”
Theresa May slammed Jeremy Corbyn for his lack of support over the Russian spy poisoning crisis. The Prime Minister told Jezza:
“There is a consensus across the backbenches of this House. I am only sorry that this consesnsus does not go as far as the Right Honourable Gentleman, who could have taken the opportunity as the UK government has done to condemn the cuplability of the Russian state.”
This will lead all the news bulletins tonight, the press will crucify Corbyn tomorrow, his own Labour MPs have disowned him and sided with the PM.
In this type situation Guido would normally expect the leader of the oppostion’s spin doctor to back pedal in the Lobby briefing huddle that follows, he would “clarify” and nuance the wording. Emphasise the more conventional parts of the argument to soften the inevitably hostile headlines coming tomorrow. When that spin-doctor is Seumas Milne however it seems there was to be no compromising on Putin’s line. Under intense questioning he refused to say that the Labour Party’s leader accepted the Russian state was at fault:
“The government has access to information and intelligence on this matter which others don‘t. However, also there is a history in relation to weapons of mass destruction and intelligence which is problematic, to put it mildly. So, I think the right approach is to seek the evidence to follow international treaties, particularly in relation to prohibitive chemical weapons.”
When Lobby hacks pressed Milne as to if Corbyn believed Russia was responsible for the attack, Milne said the PM continued to leave open the possibility that Russia had lost control of the nerve agent. Milne prefers to doubt MI6 and give the benefit of the doubt to the FSB….
Jeremy Corbyn has taken the line used by the Kremlin when it refused to comply to the UK’s deadline for explaining Sergei Skripal’s poisioning. Corbyn was booed as told the Commons:
“How has she responded to the Russian government’s request for a sample of the agent used in the Sailsibury attack to run its own tests?”
The Russian Embassy in London tweeted:
3/7 Moscow will not respond to London’s ultimatum until it receives samples of the chemical substance to which the UK investigators are referring. pic.twitter.com/B5CNtimcc3
— Russian Embassy, UK (@RussianEmbassy) 13 March 2018
The Russian Foreign Ministry said: “Without this, any statements by London are senseless.”
Not much of a surprise though, is it…
Chris Williamson is sitting behind Jeremy Corbyn at PMQs with communist paper the Morning Star deliberately left in camera shot on his lap. Presumably it will stay there for Jezza’s response to the Russia statement too…
Questions to the Prime Minister
Q1 Vicky Foxcroft (Lewisham, Deptford) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 14 March.
Q2 Jack Dromey (Birmingham, Erdington)
Q3 Mr Virendra Sharma (Ealing, Southall)
Q4 Alex Burghart (Brentwood and Ongar)
Q5 Bill Esterson (Sefton Central)
Q6 Bridget Phillipson (Houghton and Sunderland South)
Q7 Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North)
Q8 Richard Graham (Gloucester)
Q9 Jeremy Quin (Horsham)
Q10 Andrew Selous (South West Bedfordshire)
Q11 Vernon Coaker (Gedling)
Q12 Leo Docherty (Aldershot)
Q13 Jo Platt (Leigh)
Q14 Neil Parish (Tiverton and Honiton)
Jeremy Corbyn said Vladimir Putin’s illegal incursion into Ukraine which saw the annexation of Crimea was “not unprovoked” and that there were “huge questions” over Western intentions in the country. In a 2014 article for the Morning Star at the height of the Ukraine War Corbyn wrote:
“On Ukraine, I would not condone Russian behaviour or expansion. But it is not unprovoked, and the right of people to seek a federal structure or independence should not be denied. And there are huge questions around the West’s intentions in Ukraine.”
At the same time Corbyn was making excuses for Putin’s actions his top spinner Seumas Milne was loudly defending the Kremlin. Milne, who has described Putin as “a centrist”, called the annexation of Crimea “clearly defensive”:
“Putin’s absorption of Crimea and support for the rebellion in eastern Ukraine is clearly defensive, and the red line now drawn: the east of Ukraine, at least, is not going to be swallowed up by Nato or the EU”
Don’t count on Corbyn backing the tough line against the Putin regime likely to be announced later today…
Jeremy Corbyn’s response to the Russia spy poisoning crisis is being used by Putin’s state media to counter the British government’s position. Corbyn’s statement to parliament yesterday is set against Theresa May’s in this write-up by TV Zvezda, a Russian army media outlet run by Putin’s Ministry of Defence:
“Earlier, British Prime Minister Teresa May said that Russia was allegedly involved in the poisoning of Skripal. However, she did not bring any more weighty arguments and evidence in favor of her position, but she traditionally promised new anti-Russian sanctions.
“The UK needs dialogue with Russia on all controversial issues. This statement was made by Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn during his speech in parliament. “We need to continue to seek a sound dialogue with Russia on all issues that our countries share, not just cutting off contacts and allowing tensions to grow,” Corbyn said.
“In addition, the politician called for an analysis of all the data obtained and to clarify the level of threat posed by the attack.”
The piece is headlined: “The leader of the British Labour Party calls for dialogue with Russia”…
Corbyn’s intervention over Tory donations gets big play in state news agency RIA Novosti’s sympathtic piece:
“The Conservatives greeted Corbyn with a disapproving rumble. The leader of the Labour Party had to stop several times and begin the phrases from the beginning. At the same time Corbyn rebuked the Conservatives for accepting donations from people who had made money dishonestly in Russia.”
“In general, the negative plans are huge. Strengthen economic sanctions, encircle Russia even more closely with military bases, tighten the rules for entry into the UK for our citizens, freeze many of their accounts in British banks, expel Russian diplomats…“I do not regret the place for the words of the famous politician from the Labour Party (main opposition) party, Emily Thornberry: “We need to strive for a healthy dialogue with Russia on issues that are shared by our countries, rather than severing contacts and further exacerbating tensions.”
Jeremy Corbyn used his response to Theresa May in the Commons this afternoon to attack the Tories for being too close to Russia.
He brought up reports of the Tories accepting donations from Russian citizens.
Jezza essentially made the argument that the Tories were too close the Kremlin.
A… bold… attempt to score political points.
Fair to say he badly misjudged that one.
At the best of times there’s not much love lost between Jeremy Corbyn’s inner circle and John McDonnell’s operation but the past week has seen an unusual number of public slap downs served on the Shadow Chancellor by the Leader’s Office. Is there trouble brewing in socialist paradise?
The ding-dong started last Sunday when McDonnell went on broadcast and sprung Jezza into announcing an investigation into Munroe Bergdorf. McDonnell swerved the controversy, squarely blaming the Leader’s Office for employing Munroe, and announcing an investigation on their behalf:
“That will be a matter obviously for her employer, she’s employed directly by the Leader’s Office… I’m not sure about this particular issue, it will obviously be investigated by the Leader’s Office.”
The Leader’s Office insisted Bergdorf was not employed by them…
Then, in the middle of last week, as the story broke about Jezza’s membership of an anti-Semitic Facebook group, McDonnell took his own line on the media round totally at odds with LOTO. McDonnell told Sky:
“[Corbyn] was added, and then participated in some of the debate, then when he discovered there were some people in it who were expressing anti-Semitic views he immediately came out of that.”
Team Corbyn briefed that this was “not right”, before increasing the slap down and publicly contradicting McDonnell.
Yesterday, McDonnell went lone wolf by unilaterally proposing a Labour boycott on Russia Today that would ban all the party’s MPs from the channel. ‘Sources close to Jeremy Corbyn’ swiftly briefed that there would be no such boycott. Is everything alright lads?
Team Jezza have slapped down John McDonnell for his attempted explanation of Corbyn’s presence in that anti-Semitic Facebook group. McDonnell said this morning on Sky:
“He was added, and then participated in some of the debate, then when he discovered there were some people in it who were expressing anti-Semitic views he immediately came out of that.”
So McDonnell says Corbyn left the group when he became aware of its anti-Semitism in 2015, but did nothing about it and didn’t report the members or the group to the party. That’s not a good look…
Team Corbyn say McDonnell’s statement to Sky was “not right”, that he left a number of Facebook groups when he became leader and claim he wasn’t aware of any anti-Semitism at the time. McDonnell keeps stiching-up the boss at the moment…
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) 8 March 2018
Maybe one day a woman will be elected leader of the Labour Party…
25 minutes after Jezza was accused by Theresa May of “mansplaining” International Women’s Day at PMQs, the Leader’s Office fired off this invitation to a hastily-organised reception to recognise the occasion. With the event scrabbled together at the last minute, guests were given just four hours to RSVP and were expected to cancel their plans and make it to Westminster that same evening. Fair to say it went down pretty badly – here is anti-FGM campaigner Nimco Ali:
What an absolute Joke!! Either I have just been added to their list after tweeting about how shit they are on #FGM or they are literally putting together an event for #internationalwomensday2018 at the 11th hour. pic.twitter.com/IyrK33JOm8
— Nimco Ali 🔻 (@NimkoAli) March 7, 2018
In the end only a small group of largely Westminster based staff made it to the reception to hear Jezza. Surely the brocialists didn’t forget?
A bloody difficult woman just rinsed the absolute boy. Completely, stunningly, beautifully hung him out to dry. And there was no doubt in the Chamber of the House of Commons this was a girl’s job well done.
The true strength of Theresa May’s killer line – that Corbyn had “mansplained” to her about International Women’s Day – wasn’t just in the delivery (though to the Prime Minister’s credit she nailed it; the House loved the funniest, best-targeted and pithiest one-liner she has ever used at PMQs – and perhaps her single most memorable). Those leopard-print kitten heels would have roared if they could.
The great joy of Theresa May’s set-piece salvo on Jeremy Bernard Corbyn’s sexism was even more simple. It worked so well because it is true.
This is a quite astonishing claim which Jezza is surely going to have to justify…
Hundreds of Labour women are planning to cut up their membership cards as the party moves to formalise its policy of allowing transgender people onto all-women shortlists. The NEC’s equalities subcommittee yesterday approved a draft statement on the issue which sparked bitter division among the party’s activists.[…] Read the rest