Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has defended his links with IRA associated rallies in the 1980s, saying that it had been necessary to bring about a peaceful solution to the conflict in Northern Ireland.
Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday asked if he could condemn unequivocally the IRA, Mr Corbyn said: “Bombing is wrong, of course all bombing is wrong and of course I condemn it.”
Ms Ridge noted: “But you’re condemning all bombing there, can you condemn the IRA without equating it to…”
Mr Corbyn, interjecting, replied: “No, I think what you have to say is all bombing has to be condemned and you have to bring about a peace process.
“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.
“Therefore you have to seek a peace process. You condemn the violence of those that laid bombs that killed large of numbers of innocent people and I do.”
Pressed to condemn the IRA, Mr Corbyn said: “I’ve just condemned all those that did bombing, all those, all those on both sides that laid bombs.”
Asked again to condemn the IRA without equating it to the deaths caused by British security services, Mr Corbyn said: “And there were loyalist bombs as well, which you haven’t mentioned.
“I condemn all the bombing by the both loyalists and the IRA.”
Security minister Ben Wallace, a former army officer who served in Northern Ireland, said: “People up and down the country will rightly be outraged that Jeremy Corbyn won’t unequivocally condemn the IRA for the bloodshed, bombs and brutal murders they inflicted on a generation of innocent people.
“Jeremy Corbyn has spent a lifetime siding with Britain’s enemies, but he and his extreme views could be leading our country and representing it abroad – negotiating with 27 EU countries in just over two weeks’ time.
“And it’s the British people who will pay for this for generations.”