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Meet with IRA victims, Corbyn and McDonnell are told

By Jack Maidment and Arj Singh

Published 13/10/2015

Under pressure: Jeremy Corbyn
Under pressure: Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell should be taken to meet victims of IRA attacks to "get an education", a Tory MP has said.

Conservative MP Oliver Colvile urged the former shadow Northern Ireland secretary Ivan Lewis to persuade Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell to meet with the victims.

Speaking during a Commons debate on the political situation at Stormont he said: "I hope also that he can help convince his leader and the shadow chancellor to give up their support for IRA terrorists.

"Perhaps we might like to take them to meet some of the victims of the atrocities to hear first hand of the real anguish of losing close relations and maybe they can get an education."

Mr Corbyn has faced criticism over reported links to the IRA while Mr McDonnell apologised in September for any offence comments he made about the group in the past may have caused.

Shadow Northern Ireland minister Stephen Pound insisted Labour's policy towards Northern Ireland had not changed since Mr Corbyn's election as leader and his appointment of Mr McDonnell as shadow chancellor.

Mr Pound said: "We reiterate on the record the bipartisan approach... we are fully supportive of the principle of consent as expressed in the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent other agreements."

Meanwhile, MPs called for fundamental changes to the workings of the Assembly, claiming current arrangements would only prolong the current political crisis.

The UUP's Danny Kinahan compared the "silo mentality" in Northern Ireland whereby ministers from different parties undermine each other because of ideological differences with the Tory-Lib Dem coalition formed in 2010 at a time of recession.

He said the power-sharing agreement as it currently works "cannot stand".

The DUP's Nigel Dodds said: "The DUP is not prepared to carry on business as usual or sweep such matters under the carpet.

"Just imagine if a political party here in government had some kind of militia or paramilitary organisation was out doing these things in the streets.

"It wouldn't be tolerated for one minute.

Outlining a way forward, Mr Dodds said paramilitaries "have to go away" and disband.

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