Twitter exploded as opposition leader Corbyn was being grilled over his suggestion to give Russia samples of the agent used to poison Skripal amid an investigation into the case.
Fury rose among Labour MPs as their party leader Jeremy Corbyn called on the government to meet Russia’s request to share a sample of the substance, allegedly used for poisoning former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. Corbyn said in an interview with BBC Radio 4’s World At One program that in this case, Russia “can say categorically one way or the other.”
“All fingers point towards Russia’s involvement in this, and obviously the manufacture of the material was undertaken by the Russian state originally. What I’m saying is the weapons were made from Russia, clearly. I think Russia has to be held responsible for it, but there has to be an absolutely definitive answer to the question where did the nerve agent come from?” he said.
Corbyn also pointed out that before people “shoot from the hip,” they should wait for the substance analysis of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical weapons (OPCW).
Dwelling on the theme, he also said he would deal with Putin despite all the controversies surrounding Russia, as “You have to deal with people who are in the position they are as head of state” of such a huge country, as Russia.
“Robust, yes, assertive, yes, demanding yes, but there has to be a relationship,” he said in the interview.
Several Labour MPs attacked his suggestion and mocked their party head.
Corbyn’s long- time critic from within the Labour Party, Ian Austin, World At One asked about the purpose of such a move, if the result is determined.
Another labourite, John Woodcock, expressed worries over Corbyn’s stance.
“This needs to be resolved as it is obviously not an approach that would work if we were in charge of the country during a national security crisis,” he told Sky News.
Tory housing minister Dominic Raab claimed the idea sounds like “asking the bank robber to identify the bullets from a heist.”
This invective was echoed on Twitter, as some commentators slammed the Labour leader and his idea, joking about his bright future with Moscow’s help.
However, some perceived this storm of fury as a campaign by Corbyn’s opponents to attack the politician.
Others liked Corbyn’s approach, considering it to be levelheaded.
London accused Moscow of the attempted murder of ex-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter with a poisonous nerve agent, claiming it has a Russian origin. The substance purportedly belongs to a class of chemical weapons developed in the Soviet Union in the 70’s.
Moscow has strongly denied London’s allegations, as the production of the agent was halted long ago and its stocks have since been destroyed according to the directions of the OPCW.
Russia has requested access to samples of the substance and offered to assist in the investigation, which is far from over, but London has refused. The Skripals are being treated in a hospital in Britain.