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Jeremy Corbyn’s shoot-to-kill view rejected by Hilary Benn

By DPF Admin17th November 2015August 6th, 2019Area Updates, Latest News, Northern Updates, Southern Updates

Shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn has said it is “perfectly reasonable” for police to shoot to kill terrorists that are a threat to life – after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he was “not happy” with such a policy.

Mr Benn said it was a “long-established precedent” that lethal force could be used to prevent “further loss of life”.

Mr Corbyn's stance was criticised by some MPs at a party meeting.

His spokesman said only a minority of MPs had expressed themselves volubly.

The spokesman added that the shadow cabinet was “united” over Labour's policy of refusing to back UK military action in Syria.

The row comes after Mr Corbyn told the BBC on Monday that a “war on the streets” must be avoided and also that UK air strikes in Syria could make the situation there “far worse”.

 

He also declined to say if he would ever back military intervention against extremists.

He added: “I'm not happy with the shoot-to-kill policy in general. I think that is quite dangerous and I think can often be counter-productive. I think you have to have security that prevents people firing off weapons where you can.”

The Labour leader was speaking after 129 people were killed in a series of terror attacks in Paris on Friday.

BBC political correspondent Eleanor Garnier said one Labour MP “savaged” Mr Corbyn during the meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party on Monday night, while others said he was “aggressively heckled”.

 

Labour MP John Mann asked Mr Corbyn if he was saying “terrorists with Kalashnikovs should not be shot by security forces in such situations”.

Labour Keith Vaz, chairman of the home affairs committee, said shoot-to-kill was “the right thing to do in those circumstances”, adding that “we have given that power to those responsible to make that decision”.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Benn said Labour's policy “remains the same”.

Officers faced “split second decisions” in such circumstances, he said, adding: “I can't speak for Jeremy in relation to the particular circumstances he may have been thinking about.”

Mr Benn also criticised the Stop the War Coalition – until recently chaired by Mr Corbyn – for an article, since deleted, headlined “Paris reaps whirlwind of western support for extremist violence in Middle East”.

He said the language used was “shocking” and “wholly wrong” adding that whether or not the Labour leader should attend a Stop the War meeting in December was a “decision for Jeremy”.

And he said there had been “no realistic prospect” of apprehending the Islamic State militant known as “Jihadi John”, who was apparently killed by a US drone strike.

Mr Corbyn has said it would have been “far better” if he had been “held to account in a court of law” and questioned the legality of the action.

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