Kevan Jones hits back at Jeremy Hardy over mental health jibe
Jeremy Hardy linked Kevan Jones' support for Trident renewal with his medical history during a routine at a 'Jeremy Corbyn for Prime Minister' rally in Edinburgh.
He said: "I would have thought you could hazard a guess that if someone supports nuclear weapons, if your view of existence is so bleak you’re prepared to help with the extermination of the entire northern hemisphere, that kind of suggests depression, don’t you?”
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Speaking exclusively to PoliticsHome, North Durham MP Mr Jones said: "Both subjects, mental health and the defence of our country, are serious subjects. To make light of them and suggest anyone who takes a contrary view to Jeremy Corbyn is mad is completely wrong.
"It's just another example of people using mental illness as a political weapon and I thought we had moved on from that."
Former London mayor Ken Livingstone was also condemned last November when he said Mr Jones should seek "psychiatric help" after he criticised his appointment as head of the party's defence review.
Luciana Berger, Labour's shadow minister for mental health, said Jeremy Hardy's remarks must not be "tolerated".
She said: "There is no excuse for using someone’s mental health as a stick with which to beat them.
"Mental health has come out of the shadows in recent years, but too many people with mental health problems still face stigma, abuse and discrimination.
"We must not tolerate comments like those used by Jeremy Hardy which only serve to reinforce the gap in understanding and undermine the good work being done to tackle the taboo that still surrounds mental health."
Mr Hardy appeared to suggest that his critics did not have a sense of humour in a post on his Twitter page.
Today is Chronic Humourlessness Disorder Awareness Day. Please take it seriously.
— Jeremy Hardy (@JeremyJHardy) March 10, 2016
A spokesman for Mr Corbyn said: "#JC4PM is an organisation that is separate from Jeremy Corbyn and is responsible for its own activities.
"Jeremy Corbyn has consistently called for an end to the stigma attached to mental health."
It is not the first time the #JC4PM UK tour, which features a host of left-wing comedians, singers, artists and politicians, has caused controversy.
PoliticsHome revealed last month that one of those due to perform at the event, Scottish comedian Janey Godley, was actually a SNP member who had vowed never to vote for Labour.