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Anthem row Corbyn tells of his love for the UK

By David Hughes

Published 17/09/2015

Jeremy Corbyn has insisted that he loves the UK after facing criticism for refusing to sing the national anthem during a Battle of Britain commemoration service.

Labour's new leader was heavily criticised after remaining silent while Prime Minister David Cameron and others sang God Save The Queen during the service at St Paul's Cathedral.

Questioned on Channel 4 News, Mr Corbyn said: "Of course I love this country. But I love this country to be socially just, a fair country, a decent country. I love our NHS. That is what's important and that's what Labour is about."

Asked repeatedly whether he would sing in future, the Labour leader merely insisted he would "take part fully". "I was at the Battle of Britain memorial yesterday," he added. "I was there out of respect for that amazing moment in British history. I was also thinking about my family, my mum and dad who were there at that time in London and worked as air raid wardens during the Blitz.

"It was a respectful ceremony and I stood in respect throughout it. I will be at many events and I will take part fully in those events. I don't see a problem about this."

A Labour Party spokesman said: "What Jeremy meant was that 'taking part fully' would include singing. That is what he was saying in the interview."

Newly-appointed shadow environment secretary Kerry McCarthy said Mr Corbyn should have sang to "avoid all the fuss".

She told BBC Radio 4's World at One programme: "When the Government was slashing tax credits, when Jeremy did an speech to the TUC, you don't really want the headlines to be whether or not he sang the national anthem."

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