Jeremy Corbyn would authorise the lethal use of force against terrorists in Paris-style attacks if he became Prime Minister, HuffPostUK can reveal.
In his report to Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee today, the Labour leader has made clear that he would approve ‘proportionate and strictly necessary force’ in response to attacks like that by ISIL killers at the Bataclan concert hall.
But Mr Corbyn also stresses that the law must be upheld and that he believes that ‘shoot to kill’ policies are to be avoided, not least because of ‘recent’ incidents, believed to be a reference to the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes and Northern Ireland’s Troubles.
Mr Corbyn came under repeated attack at a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party last night over his stance on the legality of police action in the Paris attacks, as well as the assassination of Mohamed Emwazi by a US drone strike.
But as part of his NEC report, he has clarified his position is in line with Labour policy.
"As we have seen in the recent past, there are clear dangers to us all in any kind of shoot to kill policy,” he says.
“And we must ensure that terrorist attacks are not used to undermine the very freedoms and legal protections we are determined to defend.
"But of course I support the use of whatever proportionate and strictly necessary force is required to save life in response to attacks of the kind we saw in Paris".
The key phrase in the statement is 'strictly necessary force', a test in law for any shootings by police where lethal measures are needed to protect life.
The phrase "proportionate force" covers circumstances where non-lethal force is would apply, such as the shoot-to-wound operation by armed police of Lee Rigby’s killers, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale.
Hilary Benn, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, told the BBC earlier today that he would back lethal force if it was proportionate and reasonable.
Mr Benn told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "You have to protect people….in those circumstances everybody would agree it was right and reasonable where there is an immediate threat to life….with our procedures, to use lethal force to protect those cowering on the floor of that concert hall.
"It’s got to be reasonable, it’s got to be proportionate.”
Mr Corbyn upset some of his MPs on Monday when he told the BBC: "I’m not happy with a shoot-to-kill policy in general – I think that is quite dangerous and I think it can often be counterproductive. I think you have to have security that prevents people firing off weapons where you can."
But his remarks today clarify that he believes force can be used as long as it complies with the law.