Jeremy Corbyn has warned against a “McCarthyite intolerance of dissent” as he defended questions he raised about Russia’s responsibility for the Salisbury nerve agent attack.
In a clear sign the Labour leader is refusing to soften his line on the poisoning controversy, Corbyn wrote in the Guardian that Theresa May should not “rush way ahead of the evidence” and described the atmosphere in Westminster as “fevered”.
On Wednesday, Corbyn was met with an angry reaction when he refused to link the Kremlin directly to attack - fury that intensified as his spokesman pointed out previous “problematic” intelligence blunders on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
Many Labour MPs were deeply uncomfortable with the position, and his shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith said “it would have been easier for us” if the Labour leader had made it clear he backed the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats over the attack.
In his Guardian article, Corbyn made clear he backed May’s crackdown, but suggested a financial crackdown on Russian oligarchs would be more effective.
But he was also clear the “horrific event” demands the “most thorough and painstaking criminal investigation”.