Jeremy Corbyn today was left humiliated after offering condolences to the family of a dead police officer – who hadn’t died.
Speaking in Prime Minister’s Questions this afternoon, the Labour leader began his grilling of Theresa May by paying tribute to a Belfast police officer who was shot in the arm on Sunday.
The policeman’s injuries are not life-threatening, but today Corbyn offered his “condolences to the family of the police officer who lost his life over the weekend.”
A spokesman for the Labour leader later said: “He mean to say ‘nearly died.’
“The last thing that we intended was any offence.”
His error was seized upon by MPs from Northern Ireland, and Corbyn span round in his seat when the DUP’s Nigel Dodds told the Commons the officer was still alive.
Dodds said: “I join the Prime Minister in wishing a speedy recovery to the police officer who was shot and injured in my constituency in north Belfast on Sunday night.
“Thankfully he was not killed, but that was not the intention of the terrorists, of course.”
The police officer was injured in the arm on the forecourt of a petrol station on Sunday after up to 10 shots were fired from a high velocity rifle.
The injured officer underwent emergency surgery, and his condition was described as stable in the aftermath of the attack.
Once the PMQs session ended this afternoon, North Antrim MP Ian Paisley raised a Point of Order and called for an immediate correction from Labour.
He said: “For the family, and for police officers generally, could we have that corrected by the frontbench spokesman as urgently as possible so as the record of this House does not contain a spurious fact that a police officer was murdered in Belfast?”
Speaker John Bercow replied that he believed there was “no need for any further correction, it was an error.”
The Police Federation for Northern Ireland took to Twitter to express its frustration with the Labour leader’s remarks.
The organisation posted:
Huff Post UK understands that Corbyn has been urged by some MPs to apologise to the officer and his family, and contact the Chief Constable of the Police Federation of Northern Ireland to make it clear he is sorry for any offence caused.
Three men were arrested by Northern Ireland police investigating the attempted murder of the officer.