Kate Osamor (pictured with Jeremy Corbyn at Labour conference) said the Labour leader risks letting the Government get ‘off the hook’ by making remarks which are seized upon by the media and grab headlines
A Labour shadow minister has told Jeremy Corbyn to stop talking about foreign policy after he sparked fury by refusing to blame Russia for the Salisbury attack.
Kate Osamor said the Labour leader risks letting the Government get ‘off the hook’ by making remarks which are seized upon by the media and grab headlines.
The shadow international development secretary said Mr Corbyn’s words are either ‘ too strong or not strong enough’.
And she urged him to take a step back and let shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry speak about world events.
Mr Corbyn was hammered by many of his own MPs after he refused to back Theresa May’s response to the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
He has refused to blame the Kremlin for the attack and said a sample of the nerve agent Novichok should be sent to Russia for tests.
His remarks sparked a media storm and an angry backlash among moderate Labour MPs who called for national unity in the face to the attack.
Speaking this week’s The House magazine, Ms Osamor said Mr Corbyn should have resisted the urge to comment on the shelling of Palestinians in Gaza last week.
She said: ‘First and foremost, he should allow the spokesperson for that department really to respond.
‘It’s not that he shouldn’t have said it. But if that’s what he’s being assessed on – that’s what he’s being judged on – then he should just let his spokesperson speak because it seems that whatever he says is not good enough – it’s too strong or it’s not strong enough.
Jeremy Corbyn (pictured in Derby today) was hammered by many of his own MPs after he refused to back Theresa May’s response to the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia
‘When actually, he’s the leader. So, it should be Emily or me, whoever, should be responding. And maybe that’s what he should do.’
What is the Novichok nerve agent used against the Skripals?
The Novichok nerve agent used against former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia is among the most deadly poisons ever created.
They were secretly developed by the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold war in the 1970s and 1980s.
Communist scientists developed the poison so it would not be able to be detected by Nato’s chemical detection equipment.
They come in the form of a ultra-fine powder, Novichok is up to eight times more potent than the deadly VX gas.
Victims who are poisoned by the powder suffer muscle spasms, breathing problems and then cardiac arrest.
There is a known antidote to the nerve agent – atropine can block the poison.
But doctors find it very tricky to administer the antidote because the dose would have to be so high it could prove fatal for the person.
Novichok poisons are highly dangerous to handle, requiring the expertise of skilled scientists in a sophisticated lab.
Dr Vil Mirzayanov, former Chief of the Foreign Technical Counterintelligence Department at Russia’s premiere, was among the team of scientists who helped develop the agent.
In an article about the lethal weapon, he wrote: ‘They are extremely dangerous – most likely lethal – for people who would try to synthesise or manipulate them without the help of highly experienced scientists and engineers in special laboratory installations observing extreme safety measures.
‘Without exception, Novichok weapons cannot be used for any reason without specially trained military personnel under medical supervision.’
She added: ‘It’s much more serious than whether or not Jeremy has made a statement or not. It’s about the fact that this has taken place and what are the government doing.
‘We don’t want this to be about the British media and Jeremy, which it has become, as opposed to that people are being gassed, people are being shot or whatever and the Government has decided this is what they need to do.
‘And it takes the Government off the hook because the media then talk about Jeremy’s response when is he is the leader of the Opposition.
‘And even if he was unequivocal ‘he actually is not the prime minister or he’s not the foreign secretary’ or whatever.’
Her remarks come as Mr Corbyn risked sparking fresh controversy today by appearing to rule out any military intervention in Syria – despite evidence appearing to show Bashar Assad has gassed his own people.
The Labour leader said: ‘More bombing, more killing, more war will not save life.’
Speaking on a visit to Derby today, Mr Corbyn said of Donald Trump’s warning that ‘missiles are coming’: ‘I think the whole world should be alarmed at that sort of instant reaction – sending stuff out on social media to make policy.’
He said he condemned ‘any use of chemical weapons by anybody against anybody else is clearly illegal as well as immoral and wrong’.
‘The United Nations has a duty and a function to ensure there’s a proper investigation undertaken as the inspectors are now in Douma doing just that and, when we’ve got the results of that, decide what action to take.
‘But, I would just say this. Hundreds of thousands have died and lost their lives in Syria.
‘Millions have been forced into refuge. Many are living in terrible poverty and desperation. There has to be a political solution.
‘Russia, America, the European Union, all the neighbouring countries, Iran, Saudia Arabia have got to be involved in ensuring there is a real ceasefire and a political process that does give hope to the people of Syria in the future.
‘More bombing, more killing, more war will not save life. It will just take more lives and spawn the war elsewhere.’