Jeremy Corbyn: Margaret Thatcher 'exploited' the Argentinian invasion of the Falklands

Posted On: 
29th May 2017

Jeremy Corbyn has claimed Margaret Thatcher "exploited" the Argentinian invasion of the Falkland Islands.

Jeremy Corbyn faced a 45-minute live TV grilling.
Credit: 
Sky News

The Labour leader claimed the former Conservative Prime Minister "made a great deal of the whole issue" when General Leopoldo Galtieri sent his troops into the disputed territory in 1982.

His comments came during a 45-minute grilling broadcast live on Channel Four and Sky News.

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Mr Corbyn was reminded that he had called the Falklands war - in which 255 British troops were killed - "a Tory plot" at the time.

Asked by Jeremy Paxman if he still agreed with that, the Labour leader said: "No. I think it was important that there should be a negotiated solution through the United Nations….

"Margaret Thatcher made a great deal of the whole issue. I felt she was exploiting the situation."

IRA

Elsewhere in the interview, Mr Corbyn was again forced to defend his connections with Irish Republicans during the Troubles.

Asked specifically about why he had stood for a minute's silence at an event commemorating eight dead IRA volunteers in 1987, the Labour leader said he was honouring everyone who had died during the conflict.

He added: "The contribution I made to that meeting was to call for a peace and dialogue process in Northern Ireland."

BENEFITS

Mr Corbyn also pledged to increase welfare claimants' benefit payments every year if he becomes Prime Minister.

Labour's manifesto made no mention of the party's attitude to the Government policy, which would keep welfare handouts at their current rate until 2019.

Answering questions from the media after the manifesto launch, Mr Corbyn appeared to suggest that he would end the freeze if he becomes Prime Minister.

The Labour leader said: "Increasing benefits is important and clearly we’re not going to freeze benefits. That is very clear."

But within two hours Mr Corbyn had rowed back from that position, saying: "We have not made a commitment on that. The commitment I make is that I do understand the perverse effects of the cap, and we will be dealing with that in the context of more affordable secure housing and high wages through the living wage."

The position changed again later that day when a statement in the name of a Labour spokesman said the freeze would be lifted.

However, Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry then added to the confusion by telling the BBC that the freeze would not be lifted entirely.

During questioning by Jeremy Paxman, Mr Corbyn said: "Benefits will be paid, of course; benefits will be uprated, and will be uprated, of course; and there will be a higher living wage.

"They’re not going to be frozen because they’ll be uprated every year, as they should be."