THE BLOG
08/10/2015 09:51 BST | Updated 08/10/2016 06:12 BST

Why Is Jeremy Corbyn Reviled For Making Exactly The Same Bin Laden Comments As Boris Johnson?

Ben Pruchnie via Getty Images

In Manchester yesterday, David Cameron claimed people "only really need to know one thing" about the new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn: that he "thinks the death of Osama bin Laden was a 'tragedy'."

Taking aside the fact that we obviously need to know more than one thing about the leader of the opposition, this is a gross misrepresentation of what Corbyn said about bin Laden.

What Corbyn actually said was that it was a "tragedy" that bin Laden was never put on trial and brought to justice for his crimes.

His 2011 television interview with an Iranian TV channel is often referenced but rarely ever published in full.

Here is what he actually said about the al-Qaeda leader's killing by US forces in Pakistan:

"There was no attempt whatsoever that I can see to arrest him, to put him on trial, to go through that process.

"This was an assassination attempt, and is yet another tragedy, upon a tragedy, upon a tragedy. The World Trade Center was a tragedy, the attack on Afghanistan was a tragedy, the war in Iraq was a tragedy... This will just make the world more dangerous and worse and worse and worse. The solution has got to be law, not war."

Oddly, this has some striking similarities to comments written in the Telegraph in 2001, by a possible future leader of David Cameron's own party.

One Boris Johnson wrote a piece several months after the 9/11 attacks, titled "Bin Laden should die, but we must try him first".

In it, the now Mayor of London claimed:

"Of course, it would be the neatest solution if the terrorist maniac were to be dispatched in the coming days, whether by an M16 carbine or a 10-rupee jezail.

"But it would not be the best or most satisfying outcome. Bin Laden should be put on trial; not in Britain, but in the place where he organised the biggest and most terrible of his massacres, New York.

"He should be put on trial, because a trial would be the profoundest and most eloquent statement of the difference between our values and his.

"He wanted to kill as many innocent people as he could. We want justice. It was a trial that concluded the tragic cycle of the Oresteia, and asserted the triumph of reason over madness and revenge."

"The whole point of the exercise, the whole point of the war against terror, is that we believe in due process and the upholding of civilisation against barbarism."

Isn't that funny?