“pro-Russia comments and sympathies…Kremlin sympathiser”

Oliver Dowden describing Jeremy Corbyn in a letter to Keir Starmer

April 19, 2022

Facts

Tory chair Oliver Dowden wrote a letter to Keir Starmer inviting him to “apologise for your support for Jeremy Corbyn” during the time he was Labour leader, going on to accuse Corbyn of Russian sympathies.

In truth, Jeremy Corbyn has repeatedly criticised Putin’s human rights record with a consistency few can match. The former Labour leader didn’t just raise concerns about human rights from the moment that Putin became leader twenty years ago, he was also among the first serious critics of Russian money in British politics, long before the cause became fashionable.

As Labour leader in 2018, Corbyn  warned: "We’re all familiar with the way huge fortunes, often acquired in the most dubious circumstances in Russia, sometimes connected with criminal elements, have ended up sheltering in London and trying to buy political influence in British party politics." He added that "there has been over £800,000 worth of donations to the Conservative Party from Russian oligarchs and their associates."

Verdict

Oliver Dowden was making the same false claims against Jeremy Corbyn made on the floor of the Commons by Boris Johnson the same day. In fact, Jeremy Corbyn had a long history of criticising Russia dating back to the early days of Putin as Russian leader. He has also criticised Russian donations to Oliver Dowden’s Tories.

We approached Oliver Dowden’s parliamentary office and the Cabinet Office to give him a chance to comment, but received no response. 

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