Jeremy Corbyn is in favour of making a power-sharing deal with Argentina over the Falklands, according to an Argentinian diplomat.
Outgoing Argentine ambassador Alicia Castro says that the Labour leader is “one of ours” and that he told her he supports a British-Argentine power-sharing deal in the vein of Northern Ireland.
The Falklands are a persistent source of political tension between Britain and Argentina. Argentina maintains a claim on the islands, located in the South Atlantic, but they remain a British overseas territory and their residents overwhelming are in favour of staying British. Britain and Falklands went to war over the islands in 1982, a conflict the British won.
The Labour Party’s official policy is that the Falklands continue to be British, in accordance with their residents’ wishes. “The Labour Party policy remains that the people of the Falkland Islands have the right to determine their own future,” a spokesperson for the party told The Telegraph.
Hilary Benn, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary, is not entertaining the notion of a power-sharing agreement, the spokesperson said. “We are committed to upholding the right of the Falkland Islanders to self-determination, including by ensuring the defence of the islands. Hilary is not aware of any proposals for what you have called a ‘power-sharing deal’ in regard to the Falklands.”
But if Castro is to be believed, Corbyn would rather a deal is made that gives Argentina input into the future of the islands. She said:
[Corbyn] is saying that dialogue [is] possible and that attitudes are beginning to change, that what was achieved in Northern Ireland can be achieved also here.
His decisive leadership can guide the British public opinion to promote dialogue between the governments of the United Kingdom and Argentina.
She also reportedly said that Corbyn is “one of ours” and “shares our concerns” — indicating his point of view on the islands’ sovereignty is sympathetic to Argentina’s claim.
According to a referendum held on the Falkland Islands in 2013, 99.8% of residents want to remain British.
Corbyn, since being elected Labour leader in 2015, has been highly divisive. Membership of the party has skyrocketed — but some of his comments and policy positions have been scrutinised. He has called for a “political solution” in Syria to deal with Jihadist group ISIS — prompting Hilary Benn to publicly disagree with him.