Corbyn 'disappointed' Labour MPs 'decided to misinterpret' his stance on Russia

Jeremy Corbyn MP Credit: ITV News

By Kris Jepson

Jeremy Corbyn MP has told ITV News Tyne Tees he is "disappointed" some Labour MPs have "decided to misinterpret" his stance on Russia, following the nerve agent attack on a former spy and his daughter in Salisbury, which he set out in a Guardian article on Thursday.

Speaking at Labour's Northern Conference in Newcastle, the opposition leader declared the row "is not dividing the party".

Watch @krisjepson's report here:

Addressing the conference, Mr Corbyn told delegates "the use of military nerve agents on the streets of Britain is barbaric and beyond reckless.

"Either this was crime authored by the Russian state or that state has allowed these deadly toxins to step out of control".

Those two possibilities Mr Corbyn outlined in the article, and again at today's conference, have led to criticism from some of his own MPs, who want him to be clearer in his condemnation for Russia.

I've said in the article, the origins of the nerve gas appear to be Russia, yes. That's why I've said the issue should be referred to the Chemical Weapons Convention and we should challenge the Russian government on it and deal with it in that way. I'm disappointed that colleagues have decided to misinterpret what I've put into that Guardian article.

Jeremy Corbyn MP, Labour Leader

Some 33 Labour MPs, this week, lodged an early day motion, which “unequivocally” accepts Russia’s “culpability” for the attack.

North East Labour politicians who signed the Commons motion include Mary Glindon MP (North Tyneside), Catherine McKinnell MP (Newcastle upon Tyne North), Phil Wilson MP (Sedgefield) and Anna Turley MP (Redcar).

Anna Turley MP Credit: ITV News

Anna Turley also wrote an article in the Guardian on Thursday, setting out why she decided to sign the Commons motion.

What the world needs to see is a Britain united in condemnation and resolute in action, and a strong response from the top, starting with the government and echoed throughout parliament.

Anna Turley MP, Guardian, Thursday
Andy McDonald MP Credit: ITV News

Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald told ITV News there is no division within the Labour party.

I don't think it should be an issue of division. I think if we look with care at what we're all saying about this subject, that's hugely consistent across all the speakers, all the voices within the Labour Party and beyond. We've got the right response to this to date and I want to see that continue.

Andy McDonald MP, Labour, Middlesbrough