Jeremy Corbyn today demanded Britain apologises for its ‘immoral’ colonial past – as he said Prince Charles should not be the next head of the Commonwealth.
The Labour leader suggested that after the Queen the figurehead of the historic body should be rotated between its member states.
He urged ministers to use a Commonwealth summit in London this week to ‘recognise’ Britain’s ‘historical role’. He referred to the displacement of the Chagos islanders to make way for a military base, and abuses in Kenya.
Appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show today, Jeremy Corbyn suggested that after the Queen the figurehead of the historic body should be rotated between its member states
Prince Charles has been in Australia during the Commonwealth Games (pictured in the Northern Territory on April 9)
There are no clear rules on who should succeed the Queen as the head of the Commonwealth after her death.
There has never been another head of the group, which includes 53 nations – mostly former British territories.
But many assume Prince Charles will take over when he becomes King.
Appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show today, Mr Corbyn said the Queen had a ‘deep’ commitment to the Commonwealth.
Asked if Prince Charles should take over in future, he said: ‘I think after her maybe it is a chance to decide who its leader is on a rotational basis.’
Mr Corbyn made clear he wanted ministers to say sorry for the past at the summit.
‘I think it is very important that Britain recognises its historical role in many of these issues,’ he said.
Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry has also urged Mrs May to issue an apology to the Commonwealth
Referring to the Chagos islands case – which he has pushed for decades as a lowly backbencher – Mr Corbyn said: ‘I think it is important that the British government just recognises what Britain did to the Chagos islanders was wrong, was immoral, and gives them the right to return.’
Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry has also put pressure on Theresa May to issue apologies for the past.
Writing for The House magazine last week, Mrs Thornberry made reference to David Cameron’s apology to Nelson Mandela, when he met the South African president in 2006 for the Conservative government’s failure to impose sanctions on the country during apartheid, but claimed ‘that did not go far enough’.
Last week another key member of Mr Corbyn’s team questioned whether Prince Charles was ‘level headed’ enough to take on the high profile role.
The shadow international development secretary complained the heir to the throne had not been ‘vocal on issues’.
Ms Osamor told The House magazine: ‘I don’t particularly think it should be him. Not because I have an issue with the royal family. I just don’t think it should be him.
‘I don’t really know what he’s been up to of late. He’s not been that vocal on issues.
‘But we just need someone who’s level-headed, someone people respect but also someone who thinks outside the box.’
Prince Charles has been in Australia during the Commonwealth Games and hailed the success of the organisation at the opening ceremony.
Theresa May, pictured at a press conference yesterday, is hosting the Commonwealth summit in London this week
Kate Osamor (pictured with Jeremy Corbyn at Labour conference) said last week she did not think Prince Charles should be the next head of the