Will Jeremy Corbyn have the courage of his stated convictions and condemn the killing of Khalid Masood by armed police yesterday?
Corbyn has stated on record that he was “not happy” with police or security services operating a “shoot to kill” policy in the event of a terror attack.
In November 2015, Jeremy Corbyn was asked by the BBC‘s political editor Laura Kuenssberg whether he would be happy to order police or the military to shoot to kill if there an attack on Britain’s streets similar to the ones in France.
Corbyn answered: “I’m not happy with the shoot-to-kill policy in general – I think that is quite dangerous and I think can often can be counterproductive.”
In the aftermath of yesterday’s attack on Westminster, the Labour Party leader has issued only a short and bland statement about being “united in adversity” and thanking the police for their “bravery”. But he appears to have completely forgotten his previous stated position. Or, when put to the test, his courage has failed him.
It is a rather awkward and uncomfortable question to have to ask in the wake of tragedy, but a necessary one. Politicians like Corbyn cannot get away with holding – in abstraction – positions or stated views which, they believe, signal their greater virtue, only to quietly abandon these when reality strikes. Developing a public policy on the growing problem of self-motivated terrorism is a serious business and is not helped my moral posturing.