Unionists have reiterated their fury at Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s attempt to “rewrite history”.
They spoke out after Mr Corbyn’s interview with Andrew Marr on BBC One yesterday ahead of the second day of the Labour Party conference in Brighton.
After the interview, where Mr Corbyn again confirmed his support for a united Ireland with the caveat “it is for the Irish people to decide”, DUP MP Nigel Dodds said: “Jeremy Corbyn’s support for a united Ireland is unlikely to surprise many people in Northern Ireland given his long-standing support for Sinn Fein, throughout some of the worst periods of the IRA’s terrorist campaign.”
Mr Dodds added that it is not “Mr Corbyn’s personal support for a united Ireland which causes the most problems however” but “the fact that as recently as August, during his Labour leadership campaign he refused to condemn IRA violence during an interview on BBC”.
TUV leader Jim Allister also slammed the Labour leader for “an effort on his part to rewrite history”.
Mr Allister said at the height of the IRA terrorist campaign “he was the person most identified with supporting IRA/Sinn Fein and he did his utmost to sustain and sanitise them”.
He added: “So to now present that as some sort of peace mission is wholly disingenuous.”
Referring to Mr Corbyn’s public support for a united Ireland, Mr Allister said “he is entitled to support that” but cautioned “it is not a matter for the Irish people in that context”.
“The consent principle is based on the people of Northern Ireland consenting to any constitutional change,” he said. “It sounds to me as if he is still being equivocal about that.”
Meanwhile, UUP MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone Tom Elliott said he wanted to clarify to the Labour leader that “the Troubles were not as he called it, a ‘war’”.
“If it had been a war there would be a lot more members of the Provisonal IRA and other terrorists groups not around today,” he added.
“He needs to take his green-tinted glasses off and acknowledge what it was – a terrorist murder campaign.”
He added UUP leader Mike Nesbitt is waiting for a response to a request for a meeting with Mr Corbyn.