EXCL Jeremy Corbyn angers Labour MPs with Nato comments

Posted On: 
15th November 2016

Jeremy Corbyn sparked a fresh row with Labour MPs by refusing to say whether Britain should give its Nato allies military backing if they are attacked, PoliticsHome can reveal.

Jeremy Corbyn has angered Labour MPs again
PA Images

The Labour leader faced repeated questions about his stance at a tense meeting of the party's MPs.

It followed an interview Mr Corbyn gave on Sunday in which he called on the borders between Nato states in eastern Europe and Russia to be "demilitarised" to prevent a new Cold War.

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At the parliamentary Labour party meeting in Committee Room 14 of parliament last night, he was asked by Stephen Kinnock whether he supported Article 5 of the Nato treaty, which says an attack on one member is viewed as an attack on them all.

One MP present told PoliticsHome: "He didn't give an answer. All he did was set out what Article 5 says, which we already knew. There was a lot of unhappiness in the room."

Mr Corbyn was also asked about his Nato views by Mary Creagh and Angela Smith.

Article 5 of the Nato treaty says: "The parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that each of them... will assist the party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force."

But a spokesman for Mr Corbyn said: "Jeremy answered all the questions put to him. Article 5 of the treaty obliges Nato states to respond. The nature of that response is not defined by the treaty, and can be a diplomatic one."

In a debate during the Labour leadership election, Mr Corbyn refused to say he would defend a Nato ally if it was attacked.

He said: "I would want to avoid us getting involved militarily, by building up democratic relationships."