The Daily Telegraph
Corbyn under fire for avoiding ‘terrorism’
Labour leader calls the event a ‘violent incident’ and says police must ‘establish facts’ first
Jeremy Corbyn was criticised for failing to refer to the attack as an act of terrorism. The Labour leader instead called it an “atrocity” and a “violent incident”. Sir Gerald Howarth, the former Conservative defence minister, said Mr Corbyn was “in denial”. Theresa May referred to the attack as a terrorist incident 50 times in the Commons, as Mr Corbyn cautioned against rushing to conclusions.
JEREMY CORBYN has been criticised for failing to refer to the Westminster attack as an act of terrorism.
The Labour leader instead called the incident, in which a police officer was stabbed to death and a number of others killed, an “atrocity” and a “violent incident”.
Sir Gerald Howarth, the former Conservative defence minister, said Mr Corbyn was “in denial” and “not fit to be anywhere near the Government of this country, let alone in charge of it”, following the omission.
Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, Theresa May referred to the attack as a terrorist incident 50 times as MPs called on her to denounce the ideology spread by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and other militants.
The Prime Minister opened by telling MPs: “Yesterday, an act of terrorism tried to silence our democracy, but today we meet as normal, as generations have done before us and as future generations will continue to do, to deliver a simple message: we are not afraid, and our resolve will never waver in the face of terrorism.”
Yet Mr Corbyn chose to avoid the word and instead spoke of the need to allow the police to piece together evidence about what happened before rushing to conclusions.
He said: “What happened yesterday within metres of where we sit now was an appalling atrocity. The police are still piecing together what took place and what lay behind it.
“It behoves us all not to rush to judgment, but to wait for the police to establish the facts, to stay united in our communities and not to allow fear or the voices of hatred to divide or cower us.”
In a number of statements since the attack on Westminster on Wednesday, Mr Corbyn has repeatedly refused to refer to the incident as a terror attack or the perpetrator as a terrorist.
Sir Gerald told The Daily Telegraph that politicians must be honest with the public about the threat posed by Islamist terrorists and use the right lan- guage to denounce them. He said: “Jeremy Corbyn has quite a long history of being supportive of Hamas and Sinn Fein.
“As the Metropolitan Police made clear as early as last night they see this as Islamist terror and the nation has got to be honest with itself that the com- mon theme in almost all these recent attacks is that they have been carried out by Muslims in the name of Islam.
“That is the challenge the nation faces and obviously we all have to remain united, but we also have to be honest regarding the nature of this threat and recognising it comes from a specific source.”
He added that there is a responsibility on everyone to reject such ideologies and added: “Clearly Corbyn is in denial, he has declared support for Hamas and for Sinn Fein in the past and if he cannot be unequivocal about what happened yesterday, then he is simply not fit to be anywhere near the Government of this country, let alone be in charge of it as he aspires to be.”
The Labour leader has previously been criticised for calling the leaders of Hamas and Hezbollah “friends”.
The two militant groups are regarded as terrorist organisations by some countries.
He was forced to retract his remarks last year, which were made in a parliamentary meeting before he became leader in 2009. Speaking to the home affairs select committee last summer he said: “I regret using those words, of course.”
‘Clearly he is in denial. He is not fit to be anywhere near this country’s Government’