Belfast Telegraph

DUP emails challenge Corbyn claim in IRA victims row

'Too late' invitation from DUP to meet with victims of Provos sent 10 days ago

By Suzanne Breen

The DUP has released its email exchange with the Labour Party over its invitation to Jeremy Corbyn to meet IRA victims.

The move came as Mr Corbyn said he would not be meeting those bereaved and injured by republicans during his two-day visit to Northern Ireland.

The DUP revealed the initial email inviting Mr Corbyn which Labour had not responded to for 10 days.

Labour yesterday said Mr Corbyn didn't receive the invitation until Wednesday. It apologised to the DUP for the delay which it insisted was unintentional. It said it would investigate how it happened.

Mr Corbyn strongly denied he was snubbing victims. In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph yesterday, he said he would not be meeting them during this trip as his schedule was very tight.

But he added that shadow Secretary of State Tony Lloyd was available to do so.

"Tony is very happy to meet the families of victims and we will do so. I have no plans to meet them during this visit," the Labour leader said.

When asked if he personally was willing to meet IRA victims in future, he said: "I have no problem about meeting anybody.

"Tony will meet them first and we'll take it from there."

Mr Corbyn said he was available to hold discussions with all Northern Ireland's main political parties, including the DUP, during his visit.

Extracts from the emails show the correspondence between the Labour Party and the DUP's Gregory Campbell
Extracts from the emails show the correspondence between the Labour Party and the DUP's Gregory Campbell
Extract 2
Yesterday's front page

DUP MP Gregory Campbell first sent correspondence to Mr Corbyn's Westminster email address on May 14. He said he believed it would be helpful for the Opposition leader to meet victims who lived near the border.

Mr Campbell said he also hand-delivered the invitation to a Labour MP to pass onto Mr Corbyn earlier this week.

The party said this was not passed onto Mr Corbyn's office.

In correspondence to Mr Campbell yesterday, a Labour official said: "I would like to apologise for the process failure that resulted in your original email to Mr Corbyn not being responded to. I will investigate as to how this occurred and I can assure you that a lack of response was unintentional."

Unionists remained critical of the Labour leader. DUP MP Sammy Wilson said: "Jeremy Corbyn's visit confirms what many people already thought about him. His support for the break-up of the United Kingdom and refusal to engage with victims of republican terrorism come as little surprise.

"Neither would his desire to keep Northern Ireland entrapped within the European Union."

Mr Wilson said that the Labour leader had an opportunity to distance himself from republicans. "However, he has not even tried to avail himself of the opportunity and in doing so proven himself unworthy of a vote anywhere in the United Kingdom," the DUP MP said. UUP leader Robin Swann said Mr Corbyn's visit provided him with an opportunity to condemn the IRA. "Whilst Jeremy Corbyn is here in Northern Ireland, I hope that he will finally state unequivocally that the IRA's campaign of murder was completely wrong and totally unwarranted," Mr Swann said.

"I would especially invite him to acknowledge the fact that people like Ulster Unionist Assembly Member Edgar Graham - murdered by the IRA on the Queen's University campus in 1983 - did not need to die in pursuit of their goal of a United Ireland."

The UUP leader said the murder of an elected representative should be "a reminder to Mr Corbyn of the fascist nature of the IRA and its campaign".

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn gives the thumbs up after a visit to Lifford Bridge on the Irish border, during the second day of a two-day trip to learn more about how Brexit affects the country. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 25, 2018. See PA story ULSTER Corbyn. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn gives the thumbs up after a visit to Lifford Bridge on the Irish border, during the second day of a two-day trip to learn more about how Brexit affects the country. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 25, 2018. See PA story ULSTER Corbyn. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with Professor Deirdre Heenan (left) and Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Tony Lloyd (right) during a visit to Lifford Bridge on the Irish border, during the second day of a two-day trip to learn more about how Brexit affects the country. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 25, 2018. See PA story ULSTER Corbyn. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with Professor Deirdre Heenan (centre) and Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Tony Lloyd (right) during a visit to Lifford Bridge on the Irish border, during the second day of a two-day trip to learn more about how Brexit affects the country. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 25, 2018. See PA story ULSTER Corbyn. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (right) speaking with SDLP politician Mark Durkan, SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan (left) and SDLP leader Colum Eastwood (third from left) after a Londonderry Chamber business breakfast on the second day of Mr Corbyn's visit to Northern Ireland as party leader. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 25, 2018. See PA story ULSTER Corbyn. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with Professor Deirdre Heenan (left) and Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Tony Lloyd (right) during a visit to Lifford Bridge on the Irish border, during the second day of a two-day trip to learn more about how Brexit affects the country. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 25, 2018. See PA story ULSTER Corbyn. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (centre, obscured and back to camera) waves at a vehicle with Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Tony Lloyd (back to camera) during a visit to Lifford Bridge on the Irish border, during the second day of a two-day trip to learn more about how Brexit affects the country. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 25, 2018. See PA story ULSTER Corbyn. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with Professor Deirdre Heenan during a visit to Lifford Bridge on the Irish border, during the second day of a two-day trip to learn more about how Brexit affects the country. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 25, 2018. See PA story ULSTER Corbyn. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn delivers a public lecture in the Great Hall at Queen's University Belfast. Pic: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is greeted by Professor James McElnay, Acting Vice-Chancellor at Queen's University in Belfast, ahead of delivering a public lecture in the Great Hall. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday May 24, 2018. Mr Corbyn urged Prime Minister Theresa May to reconvene the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference, a body that offers the Irish a consultative role in non-devolved matters concerning Northern Ireland. See PA story ULSTER Corbyn. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (centre) and Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Tony Lloyd MP (left) with Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor James McElnay (second from right), Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Internationalisation and Engagement at QueenÕs University Professor Richard English (right), and Acting Registrar Wendy Galbraith at Queens University in Belfast where Corbyn is due to deliver a lecture during his first visit to Northern Ireland as party leader. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday May 24, 2018. Mr Corbyn urged Prime Minister Theresa May to reconvene the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference - a body that offers the Irish a consultative role in non-devolved matters concerning Northern Ireland. See PA story ULSTER Corbyn. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 24: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn arrives at Queens University on May 24, 2018 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Mr Corbyn was making his first visit to Northern Ireland since being elected as Labour leader three years ago. During his speech in Belfast he is expected to say he insists that he will not support any Brexit deal that supports a hard border with the Republic of Ireland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 24: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn arrives at Queens University on May 24, 2018 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Mr Corbyn was making his first visit to Northern Ireland since being elected as Labour leader three years ago. During his speech in Belfast he is expected to say he insists that he will not support any Brexit deal that supports a hard border with the Republic of Ireland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn arrives at Queens University on May 24, 2018 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Chief Constable George Hamilton listens as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn delivers a public lecture in the Great Hall at Queen's University Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday May 24, 2018. Mr Corbyn urged Prime Minister Theresa May to reconvene the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference - a body that offers the Irish a consultative role in non-devolved matters concerning Northern Ireland. See PA story ULSTER Corbyn. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Sinn Fein's Michelle O'Neil arrives to hear Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn deliver a public lecture in the Great Hall at Queen's University Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday May 24, 2018. Mr Corbyn urged Prime Minister Theresa May to reconvene the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference - a body that offers the Irish a consultative role in non-devolved matters concerning Northern Ireland. See PA story ULSTER Corbyn. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 24: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, leaves the stage after delivering a speech at Queens University on May 24, 2018 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Mr Corbyn was making his first visit to Northern Ireland since he was elected as Labour leader three years ago, during his speech in Belfast he insisted the he will not support any Brexit deal that supports a hard border with the Republic of Ireland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Sinn Fein members (left to right), Francie Molloy, Paul Maskey and Mickey Brady MP, attend Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's lecture at Queens University in Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday May 24, 2018. Mr Corbyn urged Prime Minister Theresa May to reconvene the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference - a body that offers the Irish a consultative role in non-devolved matters concerning Northern Ireland. See PA story ULSTER Corbyn. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 24: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, delivers a speech at Queens University on May 24, 2018 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Mr Corbyn was making his first visit to Northern Ireland since he was elected as Labour leader three years ago, during his speech in Belfast he insisted the he will not support any Brexit deal that supports a hard border with the Republic of Ireland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 24: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, delivers a speech at Queens University on May 24, 2018 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Mr Corbyn was making his first visit to Northern Ireland since he was elected as Labour leader three years ago, during his speech in Belfast he insisted the he will not support any Brexit deal that supports a hard border with the Republic of Ireland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 24: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, delivers a speech at Queens University on May 24, 2018 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Mr Corbyn was making his first visit to Northern Ireland since he was elected as Labour leader three years ago, during his speech in Belfast he insisted the he will not support any Brexit deal that supports a hard border with the Republic of Ireland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 24: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn delivers a speech at Queens University on May 24, 2018 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Mr Corbyn was making his first visit to Northern Ireland since he was elected as Labour leader three years ago, during his speech in Belfast he insisted the he will not support any Brexit deal that supports a hard border with the Republic of Ireland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 24: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn delivers a speech at Queens University on May 24, 2018 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Mr Corbyn was making his first visit to Northern Ireland since he was elected as Labour leader three years ago, during his speech in Belfast he insisted the he will not support any Brexit deal that supports a hard border with the Republic of Ireland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 24: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, delivers a speech at Queens University on May 24, 2018 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Mr Corbyn was making his first visit to Northern Ireland since he was elected as Labour leader three years ago, during his speech in Belfast he insisted the he will not support any Brexit deal that supports a hard border with the Republic of Ireland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
ROSA NI campaigners to amend the 8th amendment to the Irish Constitution hold a banner outside Queens University Belfast's Wilta Hall Labour wear leader Jeremy Corbyn will give a lecture during his first visit to Northern Ireland as party leader. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday May 24, 2018.See PA story ULSTER Corbyn. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn arrives at Queens University in Belfast this morning / Credit: Pacemaker
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn arrives at Queens University in Belfast this morning / Credit: Pacemaker
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn arrives at Queens University in Belfast this morning / Credit: Pacemaker
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn arrives at Queens University in Belfast this morning / Credit: Pacemaker

He continued: "As the current leader of the Labour Party, Mr Corbyn's words and deeds carry more weight than when he was a backbench MP. Today provides him with an opportunity to state clearly where he stands on terrorism and violence used to try to achieve a political goal." Kenny Donaldson of Innocent Victims United (IVU) said it had so far been unsuccessful in arranging a meeting with Mr Corbyn despite repeated attempts.

"IVU has requested on countless occasions that Jeremy Corbyn would meet with the innocent victims of PIRA terrorism and we have done so through directly contacting his office and also via issuing the request publicly through the public press," Mr Donaldson said.

"For several years he has stonewalled those requests and even now when actually here in Northern Ireland, neither he nor his party have any interest in dealing with these issues.

"That is not the action of someone who would have ambitions to be Prime Minister, it is the actions of someone who does not possess true leadership qualities nor an ability to front up on difficult issues."

Dear Mr Campbell,

Thank you for taking the time to speak to me earlier.

I would like to apologise for the process failure that resulted in your original email to Mr Corbyn not being responded to, I will investigate as to how this occurred and I can assure you that a lack of response was unintentional.

 

We were made aware by the media that a letter would be hand delivered to our office, and after speaking to you it transpires that this was given to via the Whips Office, however, this was not received in our office.

Belfast Telegraph

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