Belfast Telegraph

'I could never back Labour if Corbyn was its leader', says Hermon

 

By Adrian Rutherford

Lady Sylvia Hermon has ruled out ever lending her support to a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn.

The veteran North Down politician, who is the widow of former RUC Chief Constable Sir John Hermon, has traditionally supported Labour in Westminster votes.

Seven years ago she quit the Ulster Unionist Party in protest at its alliance with the Conservatives ahead of the 2010 General Election.

But Lady Hermon, who is again standing as an independent on Thursday, said "there are no circumstances" in which she would support a Corbyn-led government.

A shock YouGov poll earlier this week suggested the Tories' huge early lead over Labour had narrowed significantly.

The possibility of Mr Corbyn becoming Prime Minister has alarmed unionists, given his past links to the IRA and senior republicans.

Lady Hermon said, while she expects a Conservative victory, there was no possibility of backing Labour under Mr Corbyn's leadership. She told the Belfast Telegraph: "I don't believe for one minute there is gong to be a hung Parliament.

"The Conservatives will win on June 8, although not with the landslide victory predicted weeks ago, when Theresa May announced this election. As I have sat on the opposition benches since I was first elected to Westminster in 2001, I would still sit as an opposition MP, if re-elected next Thursday.

"That said, there are no circumstances in which I would be supporting a Labour government led by Mr Corbyn."

Lady Hermon has since served as an independent since 2010 and in the House of Commons has traditionally supported Labour on issues including the detention of terror suspects for 28 days.

Mr Corbyn's links to republicanism and struggles to condemn IRA violence have outraged unionists and he came under fire last night again when facing the public on a special edition of the BBC Question Time programme.

He was challenged by an audience member over why he had "never regarded the IRA as terrorists". Another claimed Mr Corbyn was talking to terrorists while they were "killing our people, our women and children".

The Labour leader said: "I have deplored all acts of terrorism by anybody in Northern Ireland or anywhere else.

"I don't approve of any terrorism of any sort, any terrorist act of any sort. It only divides communities and kills people."

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