“Jeremy Corbyn wants to scrap MI5”

Boris Johnson interview, The Andrew Marr Show

December 1, 2019

Claim

Johnson told the BBC’s Andrew Marr that “Jeremy Corbyn wants to scrap MI5” and that the Labour leader has “said he would disband MI5”.

Facts

There is no evidence that Jeremy Corbyn has expressed this view or that it is part of Labour policy. 

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell was criticised in 2015 for endorsing a statement which included a call for MI5 to be disbanded. McDonnell has since made clear he was unaware of the demand and does not support disbanding MI5. 

Home Secretary Diane Abbott signed a parliamentary motion in 1989 calling for the abolition of MI5, but has also said her views have changed. 

The Labour Manifesto makes no mention of MI5. It pledges to “ensure closer counter terrorism co-ordination between the police and the security services, combining neighbourhood expertise with international intelligence.”

The Labour Press Office has also said that Labour has “committed to giving our security services the resources they need after a decade of cuts under the Tories.” 

In a response to the interview, BBC Reality Check said they “asked the Conservatives for the evidence behind this claim, and is still awaiting a response”. 

Verdict

There is no evidence that Jeremy Corbyn wants to disband MI5 or that he has ever said he holds that view. Johnson was lying.

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