Jeremy Corbyn blames foreign policy for terrorism in UK

By linking attacks to UK support for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he faces being accused of exploiting the Manchester atrocity.

Jeremy Corbyn is making a controversial return to election campaigning after the Manchester bomb attack with a speech blaming UK foreign policy for terrorism at home.

The Labour leader claims the so-called “war on terror” is not working and is promising a government led by him would change foreign policy so it fights rather than fuels terrorism.

But by choosing to talk about terrorism and linking it to UK support for wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria he is certain to be accused by opponents of exploiting the Manchester atrocity.

Mr Corbyn has taken a calculated decision to resume Labour’s campaign not by returning to Theresa May’s social care u-turn or other domestic policies, but by speaking out on the sensitive issue of the Manchester Arena suicide bomb.

His opposition to UK involvement in overseas conflicts goes back decades and has put him at odds not just with Conservatives, but also many in his own party.

He was one of the leading opponents of the Iraq war and since becoming Labour leader has attacked UK intervention in Syria and suggested during this election campaign that he would refuse a NATO request for more troops.

Promising a major change in foreign policy if he becomes Prime Minister, Mr Corbyn will say in a speech in central London that Labour wants to “change what we do abroad”.

He will say: “Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries and terrorism here at home.

“That assessment in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children. Those terrorists will forever be reviled and held to account for their actions.

“But an informed understanding of the causes of terrorism is an essential part of an effective response that will protect the security of our people that fights rather than fuels terrorism.

“We must be brave enough to admit the ‘war on terror’ is simply not working. We need a smarter way to reduce the threat from countries that nurture terrorists and generate terrorism.”

Speaking about his “commitment to our country”, Mr Corbyn will say: “I want the solidarity, humanity and compassion that we have seen on the streets of Manchester this week to be the values that guide our government.

“There can be no love of country if there is neglect or disregard for its people.

“No government can prevent every terrorist attack. If an individual is determined enough and callous enough sometimes they will get through.

“But the responsibility of government is to minimise that chance – to ensure the police have the resources they need, that our foreign policy reduces rather than increases the threat to this country and that at home we never surrender the freedoms we have won and that terrorists are so determined to take away.”

On domestic policy, Mr Corbyn will say: “To keep you and your family safe, our approach will involve change at home and change abroad.

“At home, Labour will reverse the cuts to our emergency services and police. Once again in Manchester, they have proved to be the best of us.

“Austerity has to stop at the A&E ward and at the police station door. We cannot be protected and cared for on the cheap.

“There will be more police on the streets under a Labour Government. And if the security services need more resources to keep track of those who wish to murder and maim, then they should get them.”

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