“Corbyn and his lot ... actually think that the armed services should be disbanded — that’s what he said”

Boris Johnson in a speech to supporters in Oldham

November 14, 2019

Facts

Johnson’s eye-catching claim is probably based on a speech made by the Labour leader in 2012 in which he said: “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every politician around the world instead of taking pride in the size of their armed forces did what Costa Rica have done and abolished their army, and took pride in the fact they don’t have an army.” 

It is clear from the full quote that Corbyn was describing a hypothetical situation and not advocating for the British armed services to be disbanded. In its 2019 manifesto Labour committed to spending 2 percent of GDP on the armed forces. Nowhere does the manifesto say the party wants to disband the forces.

Verdict

Johnson’s statement that Corbyn wanted to abolish the armed forces was yet another example of him deliberately misrepresenting statements by Corbyn and other senior Labour figures.

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