ITV’s Political Editor Robert Peston lost his rag with the Defence Secretary today as the pair clashed over Jeremy Corbyn’s views on terrorism.
Sir Michael Fallon appeared on Peston On Sunday to defend a Tory colleagues claim there would “absolutely” be a greater risk of more terror attacks if Jeremy Corbyn were Prime Minister.
Peston branded the attack “disreputable alarmism” with “no evidence” and hit back at suggestions that Corbyn believes terror attacks on UK soil are caused by British military interventions overseas.
In a speech on Friday, Corbyn said there are “connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries and terrorism here at home.”
Peston said Corbyn’s view was no different to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s – something that Sir Michael denied.
Just a week after the 7/7 bombings in London in 2005, Johnson wrote in the Spectator: “It is difficult to deny that they have a point, the Told-You-So brigade.
“As the Butler report revealed, the Joint Intelligence Committee assessment in 2003 was that a war in Iraq would increase the terror threat to Britain.”
The pair then squabbled over Johnson’s words, leading Peston to say in exasperation: “Do you want me to show you the article? Michael, don’t argue with me about it, I’ve got it.”
When quizzed about Home Secretary Amber Rudd’s claim that the UK would be at a greater risk of terrorism with Corbyn as Prime Minister, Sir Michael replied: “Look at the man’s actions, not just his words…this is a man who has opposed every piece of anti-terrorist legislation, who does not support, noticeably this morning, does not support our military action in Iraq and Syria where the RAF are trying to keep us safe, dealing with terrorists who are planning attacks against western Europe and indeed against this country and has always questioned the nuclear deterrent and indeed our Nato deployments.
“We would certainly be less safe if Jeremy Corbyn was Prime Minister.”
He added: “Jeremy Corbyn is soft on terrorism.”
The flare up comes just days after Sir Michael condemned suggestions the Iraq War had given “a new pretext” for terrorists – not realising that suggestion had been made by Johnson, not Corbyn.