Labour candidate challenged on Corbyn’s ‘our friends’ Hamas and Hezbollah remark

Labour candidate challenged on Corbyn’s ‘our friends’ Hamas and Hezbollah remark

Laura McAlpine dismissed as 'nonsense' an audience member's question during election hustings

Credit: Your Harlow Films, YouTube
Credit: Your Harlow Films, YouTube

Labour’s candidate for Harlow told an audience member who asked whether Jeremy Corbyn is “fit to keep our country safe and secure” to “think for yourself.”

Laura McAlpine was joined by fellow candidates Charlotte Cane (Liberal Democrat) and Robert Halfon (Conservative) at an election hustings in Harlow on 18 November.

Citing several controversies, the audience member’s question also cited to Corbyn’s use of the phrase “our friends” to refer to members of the terror groups Hezbollah and Hamas during a meeting in parliament in 2009 before he became Labour leader.

“How is he fit to keep our country safe and secure,” the audience member asked.

In a video of the exchange, published by newspaper Your Harlow, McAlpine can be heard dismissed the question as “absolute nonsense,” urging the audience member to “use your own mind and think for yourself rather than listening to the rubbish newspapers and mainstream media.”

“Whether you like him or not, he is a man of peace,” she said, prompting a mixture of heckling and applause. “Do a little bit of reading and come back to me.”

In 2015, Corbyn told Parliament’s home affairs select committee: “It was inclusive language I used which with hindsight I would rather not have used. I regret using those words, of course.”

“The language I used at that meeting was actually here in Parliament and it was about encouraging the meeting to go ahead, encouraging there to be a discussion about the peace process,” he added.

Earlier this year, Hamas thanked Corbyn in a statement for sending a message of support to a pro-Palestine march in London. “We also salute Mr Jeremy Corbyn for his principled position in rejecting the so-called Trump Plan for the Middle East or the ‘Deal of the Century’ if it was based on erasing Palestinian rights, primarily the right to an independent state,” the statement said.

A Labour spokesman said at the time that “Jeremy has a long and principled record of solidarity with the Palestinian people. That is the right thing to do.”

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