LONDON—British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has given his party’s MPs the green-light to avoid voting in support of banning the Iran-backed terror group Hezbollah, whom he infamously once referred to as “friends,” the Jewish Chronicle reported.
On Monday, British Interior Minister Sajid Javid announcerd the government decision to ban Hezbollah in its entirety – and not only its ‘’armed wing” – a move welcomed by Jewish groups.
Since 2008, the UK has banned only Hezbollah’s so-called “armed wing”, leaving Islamists taking part in the annual Al Quds Day March in London to wave the group’s yellow flag and claim to be expressing support only for the terror group’s “political wing”.
Javid said he had banned the “terrorist organisation” to protect the “safety and security” of the British people.
But Jeremy Corbyn issued a one-line whip for the rest of Tuesday’s business in the Commons – meaning they did not have to turn up to vote on the order proscribing Hezbollah in its entirety.
The Labour Party later issued a statement, saying the Home Office had not provided “sufficient” evidence for the ban, saying Javid should show it was brought about by “clear and new evidence, not by his leadership ambitions”.
A spokesperson said: “The Home Office has previously ruled that there was not sufficient evidence that the political wing of Hezbollah fell foul of proscription criteria, a position confirmed by ministers in the House of Commons last year. Ministers have not yet provided any clear evidence to suggest this has changed.
The Labour leader has long faced questions about his failure to condemn terror groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas. At a meeting in parliament in 2009, Corbyn described Hamas and Hezbollah as his “friends.”
In another development, the Mail on Sunday’s investigation has unearthed long-standing ties between a senior aide to Jeremy Corbyn and terrorist organizations committed to the destruction of Israel.
The report in the British newspaper details how Seumas Milne, the party’s head of strategy and communications, has for decades supported the Palestine Liberation Organization and Hamas.
Milne, the paper claimed, first met with members of the PLO on a trip to the Middle East when he was a student at Oxford University in 1977. In his writings, the former Guardian journalist has since expressed support for Palestinian terrorist organizations—the PLO and, more recently, Hamas.
The senior Labour aide, together with Corbyn, visited Hamas terror leaders during a 2010 trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories. Corbyn broke British parliamentary rules by failing to disclose the trip and later gushed over having had “a takeaway dinner” with Hamas chief Khaled Mashal in the parliament building in Gaza.
The Tower via JNS contributed to this report.