Corbyn is not a leader who unionists should prop up

Morning View
Morning View

In recent weeks Jeremy Corbyn, who had been written off by pollsters, has been faring surprisingly well.

Perhaps it will be a blip, and Theresa May will win handsomely as originally predicted, on June 8.

Or perhaps it is indicative of a genuine shift towards the Labour leader.

The prime minister has not been having a good campaign.

At the Ulster Unionist Party manifesto launch yesterday, the party leader Robin Swann (after questioning from the News Letter) said that he could not see Mr Corbyn as a prime minister. He had at first seemed perhaps hesitant on ruling out supporting Mr Corbyn in a coalition, but when he then spoke more emphatically about Mr Corbyn’s unsuitedness to Downing Street, there was applause and cries of ‘hear hear’.

There have always been Labour inclined Ulster Unionist politicians, from the late Harold McCusker to Chris McGimpsey, among many others. The UUP, like unionism, is a broad church.

But the party has traditionally been more closely aligned to the Conservatives.

Mr Corbyn is not an alarming prospect as prime minister merely because he is of the Labour Party, but specifically because he is on the hard left of that party and has been consistently ambivalent about the IRA – perhaps even supportive of it.

There has been a deluge of revelations about his consistent lobbying on behalf of republicans when they were at their most murderous.

Supporting hardcore republicans is a legitimate, although to us repellent, position.

But it would be astonishing if the British public at large thought it was acceptable in the nation’s political leader.

The arithmetic in the House of Commons might be tight on June 9, if recent surveys are reflective of the end result. But it is hard to envisage circumstances in which it would be appropriate for unionists to prop up a Corbyn premiership.