Corbyn will say foreign wars have boosted terrorism in first speech since Manchester attack

Jeremy corbynPA ImagesLabour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

LONDON — Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will say Britain’s involvement in foreign wars has played a part in fuelling terrorism in his first campaign speech since the Manchester attack.

Speaking in Westminster, central London on Friday, Corbyn — who has been a lifelong opponent of military intervention overseas — will say Britain must change its approach to foreign policy as the “war on terror is simply not working.”

“We will also change what we do abroad,” the Labour leader will tell the press conference.

“Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries and terrorism here at home.

“That assessment in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children. Those terrorists will forever be reviled and held to account for their actions.

“But an informed understanding of the causes of terrorism is an essential part of an effective response that will protect the security of our people that fights rather than fuels terrorism.”

The Labour leader will also reaffirm his manifesto pledge to put thousands more police officers on the streets and reverse cuts to security services and healthcare. Prime Minister Theresa May was warned in 2015 that Conservative government cuts to community policing in Manchester had left the city more vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

Corbyn accused of putting “politics before people”

Corbyn will make clear that highlighting foreign policy failures and cuts to police budgets does not reduce the guilt the Manchester attacker. However, the timing and content of the speech have already come in for severe criticism.

The Liberal Democrats accused Corbyn of trying to seek political advantage from the attack in Manchester. Leader Tim Farron said Corbyn’s intervention was putting “politics before people.”

“Jeremy Corbyn has chosen to use that grotesque act to make a political point. I don’t agree with what he says, but I disagree even more than now is the time to say it. That’s not leadership, it’s putting politics before people at a time of tragedy,” Farron said.

Former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown added: “The families of victims in Manchester have a right to expect political parties to respond with restraint and sensitivity to these unpardonable crimes.”

Conservative security minister Ben Wallace told the BBC that Corbyn’s comments were “totally inappropriate.”

A UKIP manifesto launch descended into chaos on Thursday when MEPs and activists yelled at journalists who asked leader Paul Nuttall whether he was exploiting the Manchester attack by holding the press conference that morning.

UKIP MEP Earl Dartmouth yelled “what a stupid question” and “don’t you understand English?” at BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg, while one activist told her to “go back down your hole” in a heated question and answer session.

Here is a preview of what Labour leader Corbyn will say on Friday morning:

“This is my commitment to our country.

“I want the solidarity, humanity and compassion that we have seen on the streets of Manchester this week to be the values that guide our government. There can be no love of country if there is neglect or disregard for its people.

“No government can prevent every terrorist attack. If an individual is determined enough and callous enough sometimes they will get through.

“But the responsibility of government is to minimise that chance – to ensure the police have the resources they need, that our foreign policy reduces rather than increases the threat to this country and that at home we never surrender the freedoms we have won and that terrorists are so determined to take away.”

On policy at home he will say:

“To keep you and your family safe, our approach will involve change at home and change abroad.

“At home, Labour will reverse the cuts to our emergency services and police. Once again in Manchester, they have proved to be the best of us.

“Austerity has to stop at the A&E ward and at the police station door. We cannot be protected and cared for on the cheap.

“There will be more police on the streets under a Labour Government. And if the security services need more resources to keep track of those who wish to murder and maim, then they should get them.

On policy abroad he will say:

“We will also change what we do abroad. Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries and terrorism here at home.

“That assessment in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children. Those terrorists will forever be reviled and held to account for their actions.

“But an informed understanding of the causes of terrorism is an essential part of an effective response that will protect the security of our people that fights rather than fuels terrorism.

“We must be brave enough to admit the ‘war on terror’ is simply not working. We need a smarter way to reduce the threat from countries that nurture terrorists and generate terrorism.”

NOW WATCH: Douglas Carswell: 3 reasons why the Leave campaign won

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.