Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News UK

Jeremy Corbyn condemns racist attacks after Brexit vote

Published 29/06/2016

Ambassador of Poland Witold Sobkow (left) greets Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and his deputy Tom Watson during a visit to the Polish Social Cultural Association in Hammersmith, west London, which was vandalised with anti-immigration graffiti. PA
Ambassador of Poland Witold Sobkow (left) greets Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and his deputy Tom Watson during a visit to the Polish Social Cultural Association in Hammersmith, west London, which was vandalised with anti-immigration graffiti. PA

Jeremy Corbyn has condemned a recent spate of racist attacks following the European Union referendum as "utterly and totally deplorable".

The beleaguered Labour leader visited the Polish Social and Cultural Association (Posk), which had offensive graffiti scrawled over its entrance, after participating in a frosty Prime Minister's Questions.

Images on social media appeared to show graffiti in which the words "F*** you OMP'' were smeared in yellow paint across the entrance of the building in west London before it was cleared - an incident Scotland Yard is treating as a hate crime.

Flanked by his deputy, Tom Watson, Mr Corbyn said: "We are shocked and we are appalled at the damage that was done to this centre.

"It is a hate crime, it is wrong, and we wanted to come here and show our solidarity with this centre with the Polish community.

"We've come here in solidarity today because I think the rise in racist attacks over the past few days is utterly and totally deplorable, completely unacceptable."

Mr Corbyn shook hands with the Polish Ambassador, Witold Sobkow, saying: "We are very sorry about what happened, we are here as an act of solidarity."

He then looked at a selection of cards and flowers displayed in the centre's reception area.

Many handwritten messages included apologies over the graffiti and other attacks since Britain voted to leave the EU on Thursday.

One card, drawn by seven-year-old Juniper, simply said "We love you" above a Polish flag and heart.

Another read: "Polish friends, I am so sorry about what happened. Britain has not forgotten Poland's friendship when it was needed most. You are loved and welcomed here."

Mr Corbyn headed to the centre fresh from PMQs, where he faced a sea of stony-faced Labour backbenchers as he grilled David Cameron on child poverty and the referendum.

Pressure on Mr Corbyn to resign has continued to intensify as he faced fresh resignations from the front bench - including one MP appointed to the shadow cabinet just two days ago.

Mr Sobkow said he was "very happy" to welcome Mr Corbyn and his deputy to the centre.

He said: "We appreciate that the leader and deputy leader of the Opposition have come to Posk and also express solidarity with us and with the Polish community."

"I know he was in the House of Commons just before he came here so I can appreciate that this is a hectic time after the referendum - we appreciate his presence even more.

"It is a tradition of the Labour Party to stand against such acts of hatred and racism, so I'm very happy the leader of the Opposition has found time to visit us."

Mr Sobkow said recent attacks were "disturbing" but not typical of Britain, which is a "second home" for the Polish community.

"We hope this is a temporary phenomenon after the referendum and that those verbal attacks and graffiti and things of this kind will disappear soon," he added.

Online Editors

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph