WATCH Jeremy Corbyn says he has never supported the IRA
Jeremy Corbyn has insisted he has never supported the IRA as he was forced to defend his connections with senior figures in the Republican movement.
The Labour leader also repeatedly failed to say he supported the renewal of Trident - despite the commitment being his party's policy.
In a half-hour grilling by the BBC's Andrew Neil dominated by his views on terrorism and foreign police, Mr Corbyn also admitted his opinion of Nato have not changed since he called it a "very dangerous Frankenstein" three years ago.
Mr Corbyn - who has seen Labour enjoy a surge in support which has seen the party close the gap on the Conservatives as polling day approaches - has come under pressure to denounce his associations with the likes of Gerry Adams during the IRA's bombing campaign.
Asked why the British people should vote for a man who supported the IRA to be Prime Minister, he said: "I didn’t support the IRA. I don’t support the IRA.
"What I want everywhere is a peace process. What I want everywhere is decency and human rights. We went through all the horrors of Northern Ireland from the – all through the ‘70s and ‘80s, through the period of the Troubles, and eventually came from that a peace process, the Good Friday Agreement, and now relative peace and stability."
Mr Corbyn also defended the time he stood for a minute's silence at an event commemorating the deaths of eight IRA members, insisting he had done so for all those who had died in the Troubles.
"I never met the IRA," he said: "I obviously did meet people from Sinn Fein as indeed I met people from other organisations, and I always made the point that there had to be a dialogue and a peace process."
Watch the exchanges here:
On Trident, Mr Corbyn was asked six times whether he personally backed the renewal of Trident, but failed to do so.
He said: "I voted against the renewal. Everybody knows that because I wanted to go in a different direction. That is the decision that’s been taken; I respect that decision going ahead."
A long-term critic of Nato who once called for the military alliance to be disbanded, the Labour leader stopped short of giving it his backing.
Andrew Neil said: "Three years ago you called it ‘a very dangerous Frankenstein’ and ‘a danger to world peace’. Do you still believe that, or not?"
Mr Corbyn replied: "I want to work within Nato to achieve stability. I want to work within NATO to promote a human rights democracy and under a Labour government that’s exactly what we’d be doing."
Asked if his views on the organisation had changed, he said: "No."