Jeremy Corbyn video ‘ugly and disgraceful’

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A decorated Northern Ireland veteran turned Ulster Unionist politician has slammed those responsible for a video that appears to show a group of soldiers firing shots at a photograph of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

UUP MLA Doug Beattie, who was awarded the Military Cross for his actions in Afghanistan, described the video as “ugly” and “disgraceful”.

The Ministry of Defence has launched an investigation.

Press Association reports that the footage, captured in Kabul, Afghanistan, shows personnel from 3rd Battalion Parachute Regiment using the Islington North MP as target practice on a simulation range.

The video shows a number of soldiers taking aim down the range and firing their weapons - the camera then focuses on the target and zooms in on an image of Mr Corbyn.

With a graphic of “happy with that” across the screen throughout, a number of marks can be seen peppered across Mr Corbyn’s face.

It has also been reported that it was a non-lethal hardened wax substance aimed and fired at the image instead of metal bullets, with the incident taking place in the past few days.

An Army spokesman said it is aware of the video circulating on social media.

“This behaviour is totally unacceptable and falls well below the high standards the Army expects. A full investigation has been launched,” he added.

Mr Beattie said: “What that video showed was soldiers who were not acting with the standards and values expected of military personnel. They have fallen short of the service test and there must be an investigation into their actions.”

He continued: “What really concerns me is that for all live firing shoots in this manner, there is either an officer or a non-commissioned officer who is in charge of that and they should not have allowed this to take place. They must bear the responsibility.

“It’s ugly, disgraceful, distasteful and undermines the military.

“For those who shared it purely for likes, retweets or who thought it was funny, they are part of the problem.”

Mr Beattie added: “Maybe the soldiers thought they were doing something they thought was humorous but, irrespective of whatever cap badge they were wearing, what they did was fundamentally wrong. They must suffer the consequences of this.”

Shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith described the video as “shocking and completely unacceptable”.

Speaking to Sky News, commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade, Nick Perry, said the Army is “obviously taking this extremely seriously”.

Former soldier and Tory MP, Johnny Mercer, tweeted that “every organisation has good people who make serious misjudgments”.

He added: “It’s how it polices itself that matters, and an inability to do that correctly has caused so many problems of late (IHAT).

“I look forward to a robust response.”