John McDonnell apologises for IRA comments

Posted On: 
18th September 2015

Newly appointed Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has apologised for saying in 2003 that members of the IRA should be “honoured”.

Mr McDonnell said if people were offended by the comment, he apologised “from the bottom of his heart”.

The Hayes and Harlington MP added he regretting his “joke” about assassinating Thatcher.

"It was an appalling joke. It's ended my career in stand-up, let's put it that way, and I apologise for it as well,” he told BBC Question Time.

On his comments about the IRA, the Shadow Chancellor said he was trying to give both sides “dignity”.

"What I tried to do for both sides is to give them a way out with some form of dignity otherwise they wouldn't lay their arms down,” he said.

He added: "And can I just say this, because this has been raised with me time and time again - I accept it was a mistake to use those words, but actually if it contributed towards saving one life, or preventing someone else being maimed it was worth doing, because we did hold on to the peace process.

"There was a real risk of the republican movement splitting and some of them continuing the armed process. If I gave offence, and I clearly have, from the bottom of my heart I apologise, I apologise."