Corbyn out of step with his party – again

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Jeremy Corbyn's response to the prime minister's action over the Russian spy poisoning scandal was met with condemnation.

And it was not just the government benches shaking their heads as he fell short of fully backing the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomatic staff – among other sanctions – but also many on his own side.

Labour MP after Labour MP got to their feet to back Theresa May's response while Corbyn sat quietly on the front bench. Once again he has made the wrong call in the eyes of many his MPs and probably most of the electorate as well.

Russia's actions were reckless in the extreme. It is extraordinary that only double agent Sergei Skripal, his daughter Yulia and the unfortunate police officer Nick Bailey were injured in the attack. It could have been far worse.

All the evidence points at Russia. But Corbyn wants more evidence. Some might say these are fair questions to ask but why does the Labour leader keep setting himself up like this?

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Accusations of him being a Communist apologist have dogged him for years. He should have put those doubts to bed in the Commons.

Of course it is not that he did not condemn the attack. But could he have gone further?

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His response has striking similarities to the way he has played Brexit. He has sat on the fence on that issue as well, trying to appease the large number of Remain members and MPs while fretting about his long-held Eurosceptic views.

Corbyn could have backed the actions in full while pushing for assurances about an independent enquiry once the police investigation had concluded.

People who sit on fences usually fall off in the end.

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