Labour leadership hopeful Owen Smith made an incredible claim about his approach to foreign policy during a televised BBC debate with Jeremy Corbyn on Wednesday morning.
Smith and Corbyn, who debated a host of issues in front of a studio audience on the Victoria Derbyshire Show, were asked whether the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh, should be invited to negotiate in any future peace process in Syria.
Smith, who played a part in the Northern Irish peace process earlier in his political career, said: “Ultimately all solutions to these crises do come about through dialogue.
“So eventually if we are to try and solve this, all of the actors do need to be involved. At the moment, ISIL are clearly not interested in negotiating… At some point, for us to resolve this, we will need to get people round the table.”
Responding to the same question, the current Labour leader Corbyn ruled out negotiating with the terrorist group. “They’re not going to be round the table, no,” he told Derbyshire.
Watch the moment Smith says he would be prepared to negotiate with ISIS.
Ian Dunt (@IanDunt), who is the editor of Politics.co.uk, tweeted saying “genuinely horrified by what Smith just said” and moments later followed up with “there is only one moral solution to dealing with Isis and that is to destroy them. Anyone who cannot see this is in a very dark place.”
This is how other Twitter users reacted to Smith’s claim:
Owen Smith wants to negotiate with ISIS whereas Corbyn refuses to. Here I thought Corbyn was the insane labour leader candidate.
— Ryan ✘ (@Im0ffended44) August 17, 2016
Please help me stop caring about Labour. Owen Smith would talk to Isis. Who rape and crucify children. Please. I’m a Tory. Why do I care.
— Louise Mensch (@LouiseMensch) August 17, 2016
Owen Smith seems to suggest ISIS could be “round the table” for Syrian peace talks – Corbyn rejects. Imagine media if other way round?
— Paul Mason (@paulmasonnews) August 17, 2016
In an email sent to BI, a spokesperson for Smith said: “Owen is clear that there should be absolutely no negotiation with Daesh, or any terrorist group, until they renounce violence, cease all acts of terror and commit themselves to a peaceful settlement.”
They added: “Owen’s experience of helping to bring about peace in Northern Ireland is that eventually all parties who truly believe in delivering peace have to be around the table. In the Middle East at the moment that clearly doesn’t include — and may never include — Daesh.”
A spokesperson for Corbyn said the comments were “hasty and ill-considered” and added the terrorist group “cannot be part of those negotiations. Instead, its sources of funding and supplies must be cut off.”
An unnamed Labour source told the International Business Times’ Ian Silvera: “It shows how lightweight Owen is that he makes more gaffes than Frank Spencer.” Spencer was a character in British sitcom Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em who had a habit of making disastrous remarks.
NOW WATCH: Theresa May: ‘Brexit means Brexit’
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.