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Jeremy Corbyn win could threaten Northern Ireland peace, says rival Liz Kendall

By Staff Reporter

Published 15/08/2015

Frontrunner: Jeremy Corbyn
Frontrunner: Jeremy Corbyn

The Northern Ireland peace process will be threatened if Jeremy Corbyn becomes Labour leader, according to rival candidate Liz Kendall.

Mr Corbyn has a long track record of interest in Northern Ireland affairs.

In 1984 the hard-left MP invited Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams to the House of Commons just weeks after the IRA had bombed Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her Cabinet at their Brighton party conference.

The north London MP also observed a minute's silence for eight IRA members who died at Loughgall in 1987 when they were ambushed by the SAS.

Mr Corbyn (66) took part in a panel discussion at this year's Feile an Phobail during which he pledged, if he becomes Prime Minister, to extend same-sex marriage and the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland, and to reverse the DUP-backed gay blood ban.

Ms Kendall (44), who is MP for Leicester West, made her controversial remarks in an interview with the Birmingham Mail.

She told the newspaper she was concerned at what she called the "fragility" of the peace process.

"There are still huge issues and concerns, and we always need to have a leader of the Labour Party and Prime Minister who are absolutely even-handed in the way that they deal with the situation, who people feel they can trust," she said.

"And I know there are many people who have concerns about where Jeremy Corbyn has stood in the past on that.

"And things remain fragile. Difficult issues come up all the time.

"I want to make sure we have a Labour leader who is trusted in this process, and understands the difficult issues that remain." Ms Kendall said. The Labour Party organisation in Northern Ireland has declared its support for Andy Burnham's bid to become party leader.

A spokeswoman said that local Labour Party members had written to all four candidates posing questions about their views, but that only Mr Burnham had replied.

It's believed that more than 800 people in Northern Ireland have registered to vote in the Labour leadership election.

Ballots were being sent out yesterday, and must be returned by September 10.

Ms Kendall is also on record as supporting the introduction of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

"I want to see equal marriage in Northern Ireland," she said.

"I do hope politicians in Northern Ireland go with the views of the public and listen to the really strong campaigners on this issue," she told Pink News, a leading gay news outlet.

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