Jeremy Corbyn is due to make his first visit to Northern Ireland since becoming Labour leader, where questions about his previous links to IRA are expected to be raised.
The Labour MP will address students at Queen’s University Belfast, where he will praise the Good Friday peace treaty signed by Tony Blair. He will then visit the Irish border tomorrow, where he will outline his party’s plans for a customs union.
Yet Corbyn’s previous history of talking to the militant republicans during the Troubles still angers unionists.
The Labour leader has denied his support for the IRA and said he only spoke to Sinn Fein, the IRA’s political wing, to advance the peace effort.
In a BBC interview, he said: ‘I never met the IRA. I obviously did meet people from Sinn Féin as indeed I met people from other organisations, and I always made the point that there had to be a dialogue and a peace process.’
Corbyn’s spokesman hinted the Labour leader is in favour of a united Ireland too, which will anger some unionists.
Pressed on Mr Corbyn’s views on Irish reunification, his official spokesman said: ‘Over the years he has made his position clear that the majority of those people across the whole island of Ireland wanted to see that outcome, a united Ireland.
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