11/04/2017 12:10 BST | Updated 11/04/2017 15:35 BST

Jeremy Corbyn Refuses To Answer BBC Question About Syria During Press Conference

Jeremy Corbyn refused to take questions from journalists on the crisis in Syria today, as he held a press conference.

The Labour leader took questions from the audience following a speech at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) conference.

However he did not want to address the conflict in the Middle East. 

BBC journalist Mark Lobel told Corbyn he wanted to ask one question on Syria and one on business.

But Corbyn interrupted to block any question on non-business issues. “I am really sorry, this is the FSB conference, I am very happy to do an interview with you afterwards about Syria,” he said.

His refusal to take questions on the subject was greeted with applause from FSB members in the room. 

Journalists in the room were unimpressed:

At the end of the press conference the FSB chair of the event said there had been some “lively questions” from the journalists. 

He told FSB members: “don’t forget they are here to do a job as well so their questions are legitimate”.

The press conference was held after Corbyn promised to tackle the culture of late payments.

He said it was a “a national scandal” that big businesses were withholding more than £26 billion a year from small suppliers by paying their bills late. 

Theresa May is currently on holiday in Wales. Lib Dem leader Tim Farron has said the prime minister should “return to Downing Street to take charge”.

Earlier today, Boris Johnson’s call for targeted sanctions against senior Russian and Syrian figures has was rejected by fellow G7 foreign ministers.

Corbyn has accused the foreign secretary of having “cold war mentality” about Russia.

Last night May spoke with Donald Trump about the crisis by telephone as the US president thanked the prime minister for her backing of his military strikes against Syrian government forces last week.