Briefing journalists after the Salisbury statement, Jeremy Corbyn’s official spokesman gave a robust defence of the Labour leader’s approach in March, when the PM first attributed the attack to Russia, and some Labour MPs condemned their leader’s response as lacklustre.
“Jeremy took a proportionate, evidence-based approach to what took place, which was the right approach, and it’s been a step-by-step approach ever since,” he said.
Corbyn received a briefing from the security forces on Wednesday morning, and his spokesman said it had now become clear that the Russian state was directly involved in the attack.
“It’s clear now that very strong evidence points to Russian state culpability, and obviously Jeremy condemns the Russian state for that culpability”, he said.
He pointed to Corbyn’s remarks in the House that Labour would support “reasonable and effective action,” against Russia, adding that the most effective approach would be, “financial action against the use of London by the oligarchs linked to the Russian state”.
Asked about remarks six months ago comparing the Salisbury situation to the claims about weapons of mass destruction (WMD) made in the run-up to the Iraq war, the spokesman said Labour’s point then had been “as much about the political use of the intelligence, as the intelligence itself”.