“12 Facts about Jeremy Corbyn”
1. On 29th November 1994, Jeremy Corbyn signed a House of Commons Early Day Motion no.24 deploring the “terrorist atrocity & murderous violence” of the pIRA’s Birmingham pub bombings.
2. In 1994, Jeremy Corbyn met four loyalist leaders including David Ervine whom he met five times both to discuss the wrongful imprisonment of UDR man Neil Latimer, and at Labour Party Conference in Blackpool in the October to receive notification of an impending ceasefire that was called just over a week later.
3. In an interview to the Belfast Telegraph on 10th October 2015, Ian Paisley’s wife commented that Ian Paisley always found Jeremy Corbyn very courteous and polite. And that “he thought Jeremy Corbyn was a gentleman”.
4. In February 1987, after initially incorrectly smearing him, Rupert Murdoch’s The Times apologised to Jeremy Corbyn and admitted that he had ordered staff to phone the police to warn them of a suspected pIRA operative in London.
5. On 11th August 1988, the Irish Times ran an article praising Jeremy Corbyn as a “tireless campaigner for the Irish”. Jeremy had worked to quash the wrongful conviction of the Guildford Four, and pushed for a reopening of the Bloody Sunday inquiry.
6. It was the Tory government who first spoke to Gerry Adams 11 years before Corbyn became an MP. MI5 files released under the thirty year rule showed that the Tory government released Gerry Adams from prison for secret talks in London. 476 people had died in 1972, the worst year of violence. MI5 files show that the Tory government concluded “there is no doubt whatsoever” that Gerry Adams “genuinely wants a ceasefire and a permanent end to violence”. The British government also recorded that Adams’s “response to every argument was reasonable and moderate”.
7. Jeremy Corbyn only ever met Gerry Adams when the latter had entered electoral politics a full 14 years after the outbreak of the Northern Irish Conflict, in Adams’s capacity as an elected MP. In the 1980s Margaret Thatcher placed a ban on elected Sinn Fein politicians’ voices being broadcast. Jeremy thought this ran contrary to the principles of free speech. He was also keen that constituents from West Belfast were not silenced.
8. Gerry Adams visited Westminster in November 1996 to meet several Labour MPs, including Jeremy Corbyn. The only item on the agenda was to resurrect the ceasefire that had collapsed. The ceasefire was recommended months later and has lasted ever since. Bill Clinton had invited Gerry Adams to the White House the previous year, thus Corbyn’s actions fitted with the broader efforts for peace.
9. There were at least two controversies throughout all of this that do deserve explanation. Shortly after the Brighton bombing Corbyn along with other MPs met Republicans in Westminster. This is indeed insensitive and wrong. Corbyn’s own motivation was to end the strip searching of female prisoners on remand.
10. On 13th May 1987, Jeremy Corbyn stood for a minute’s silence to mark the eight people who had been killed by HM Armed Forces one week earlier in Armagh. One was an innocent civilian but seven were pIRA men. The minute’s silence was held at an intellectual gathering of Irish sympathisers in London. The bodies were not all yet buried, and the circumstances were not wholly clear. There was controversy at the time over whether or not this was a shoot to kill incident. Indeed, the European Court awarded £10,000 compensation to each of the eight families.
11. The Gandhi Foundation International Peace Award for 2013 was awarded to Jeremy Corbyn, MP Islington North on 26th November 2013 at Portcullis House.
12. The Trustees of The Gandhi Foundation agreed to offer him our International Peace Award in recognition of his consistent efforts over a 30 year Parliamentary career to uphold the Gandhian values of social justice and non‐violence. Besides being a popular and hard‐working constituency MP he has made time to speak and write extensively in support of human rights at home and world‐wide. His committed opposition to neocolonial wars and to nuclear weapons has repeatedly shown the lack of truth in the arguments of those who have opposed him.”
by Justin Trowbridge