Corbyn fails to sing the national anthem and stirs poppies anger

Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn

Labour’s new leader Jeremy Corbyn appeared to remain silent during the national anthem yesterday and could not say whether he would wear a red poppy on Remembrance Sunday.

He has also accepted an invitation to join the Privy Council, which means that despite being a stauch republican, he must swear an oath of allegience to the Queen.

Northern Ireland victims’ campaigner Willie Frazer yesterday slammed Mr Corbyn for his actions, saying he would not be welcome at Remembrance Day events.

Taking part in his first ceremonial engagement as Labour leader yesterday, Mr Corbyn remained silent as the national anthem was sung at an RAF service marking the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

During the St Paul’s Cathedral event, he was seen standing silently, a few places away from Prime Minister David Cameron, as those around him sang along.

Tory MP Andrew Rosindell, who has campaigned to promote patriotism, said it was “disappointing” that Mr Corbyn had chosen not to sing God Save The Queen, claiming the new Labour leader was failing to represent supporters of his party who had “huge respect and loyalty” to the monarch.

Mr Rosindell said Mr Corbyn was free “not to do it in private” but he should sing the anthem when attending a “state occasion”.

Mr Corbyn also faced “hostility and concern” yesterday from some Labour members after he refused to rule out wearing a white poppy on Remembrance Sunday, one of the party’s MPs has said.

The new Labour leader was questioned over whether he would wear the symbol of the pacifist movement instead of the traditional red poppy during a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party on Monday.

Labour MP Simon Danczuk said he asked Mr Corbyn, the Stop The War Coalition chairman, whether he would “promise” not to wear a white poppy to ensure the focus remained on members of the Armed Forces who have lost their lives.

“There were murmurs around the room and some hostility and concern around his answer,” Mr Danczuk said.

“The point he made was that he had not decided what he would do this year. He went on to say why people wear white poppies.

“He should wear a red one in memory of members of the Armed Forces who have given their lives. It is one day in the year that it’s important not to focus on other issues.”

A Labour Party spokeswoman confirmed later that Mr Corbyn would wear a red poppy on Remembrance Sunday

Mr Corbyn has also accepted an invitation to join the Privy Council, Downing Street has announced.

Membership of the ancient body is granted to senior politicians who receive secret briefings from the security services.

They take a solemn oath of allegience – to the Queen – not to reveal the information they are given.

There had been doubts about whether Mr Corbyn – who has called for the monarchy to be abolished – would be willing to take the oath.

The Prime Minister, who has claimed Mr Corbyn’s Labour represents a “threat to our national security”, is now expected to allow Mr Corbyn to see sensitive briefings on threats facing the UK.

While MPs have to swear or affirm allegiance to the Queen, the oath required of Privy Council members is much fuller.

Mr Frazer responded that he had “always warned that Sinn Fein wouldn’t be stopping at merely destroying Northern Ireland”.

He added: “As you see, they have now found their partner in the UK mainland who has opened up the door to them gaining a foothold there.

“Look at the policies of Sinn Fein and Corbyn’s – [there is] no difference; all apologists of terrorism and determined to destroy the British forces and all they stood for.”