Jeremy Corbyn 'like Donald Trump' in Russia response, says David Miliband

Posted On: 
13th March 2018

Jeremy Corbyn was "strangely like" US president Donald Trump in his comments on Russia in the wake of the Salisbury nerve agent attack, David Miliband has said.

The Commons response by Jeremy Corbyn was met with outrage from MPs
PA Images

The former foreign secretary suggested the Labour leader had adopted the wrong tone after Theresa May pointed the finger directly at president Vladimir Putin.

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But in the Commons yesterday Mr Corbyn blasted the Tories for taking donations from Russians and called for "robust dialogue" with the Kremlin to dampen tensions.

Mr Miliband told the Today programme: “The thing that struck me was that some of the contents of what Jeremy Corbyn was saying, it was strangely like the kind of things that President Trump says about the need to engage in dialogue, to keep on talking to them.

"No one is saying that all contact is going to be cut off, the question is whether or not there are actions as well as words. The truth is that only actions show the Russians we are serious.”

He added: “I think it is about standing up for British citizens, frankly.

“It is not about being anti-Russian, or about starting a second cold-war. It is recognising that Russia is in a revanchist, dangerous mode."

Mr Corbyn had told MPs: “The actions the Government takes once the fact are clear need to be both decisive and proportionate, and focused on reducing conflicts and tensions rather than increasing them.”

He was met with cries of “shame” and “disgrace” from Conservative MPs, while a couple of his own backbenchers also launched thinly-veiled attacks on his response.

Elsewhere in his interview this morning, Mr Miliband took the opportunity to praise the Prime Minister’s response to the crisis.

“The tone that Theresa May set in the House of Commons yesterday was right," he said.

"She was firm but without seeking to be macho. She’s also bought herself a couple of days to figure out what to do.”

The former Cabinet minister, who was in charge of the Foreign Office during the assassination of Alexander Litvinenko, said Theresa May had to focus on “rallying her allies”.

“It is very significant and very worrying frankly that that the White House has not felt able to point the finger at Russia in the last seven or eight days," he added.

“I think that rallying the European allies, and significant strands of American opinion is absolutely key.”