NEWS
26/03/2018 21:53 BST | Updated 27/03/2018 10:10 BST

Labour MPs John Woodcock And Chris Williamson Clash Over Jeremy Corbyn Saying He's Always Stood Up To Russia

'It’s just not true,' Labour leader told by backbencher.

Splits in the Labour Party have been laid bare after Jeremy Corbyn was accused of lying by one of his own MPs  - who in turn faced heckling from a colleague.

In the House of Commons, backbencher John Woodcock challenged the Labour leader over his stance on Russia - arguing that its was “just not true” as Corbyn listed the occasions he had stood up to the Kremlin.

After Woodcock sat down, the MP appeared to be berated by fellow Labour MP - and Corbyn ally - Chris Williamson.

In an extraordinary scene, Williamson appeared to suggest Woodcock should cross the floor and sit with the Tories. Woodcock, in response, put his left-hand to his ear, indicating he could could not hear whatever was being said.

Parliament TV

The Labour leader faced a backlash from some Labour MPs two weeks ago after hesitating in blaming the Russian government directly for the the nerve agent attack.

In parliament today, Corbyn said he had opposed abuse in Chechnya, the oppression of LGBT rights and “dodgy laundering by Russian oligarchs of money through London”.

Woodcock, a frequent critic of Corbyn, said: “I was not intending to intervene in this, but I cannot actually let that remark go by.

“I’ve sat here reading his article in the Morning Star after Russia annexed part of Ukraine, where the strongest criticism he makes there is ‘on Ukraine, I would not condone Russian behaviour or expansion, but it is not unprovoked’.

“And then into the usual criticism of the US and Nato and UK policy. It’s just not true.”

Tory MPs screamed “more” after Woodcock’s remarks, while Corbyn said: “I thank my honourable friend for his usual helpful intervention. Thank you very much.”

HuffPost UK revealed earlier this month that Williamson, the Labour MP for Derby North, said his party colleagues in parliament who had decided Moscow was “unequivocally” to blame were “baying for blood” and suggested they face deselection. 

Williamson said he would be “happy” if MPs - including Woodcock and Ian Austin - “buggered off” out of the party.