Theresa May has said Jeremy Corbyn should be “open and transparent” about allegations he was linked to communist spies.
Jan Sarkocy, a former Czech spy, has claimed the Labour leader was on his payroll during the Cold War.
Corbyn has strongly denied the accusation reported in the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph. “These claims are a ridiculous smear and entirely false,” his office has said.
“The former Czechoslovak agent Jan Sarkocy’s account of his meetings with Jeremy was false 30 years ago, is false now and has no credibility whatsoever.”
Speaking in Derby on Monday afternoon, the prime minister was asked whether Corbyn needed to “answer questions” about the claims.
She said: “I think it’s for individual MPs to be accountable for their actions in the past but also where there are allegations of this sort MPs should be prepared to be open and transparent.”
Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary, said the report in The Sun that Corbyn had met the Czech agent three times during the Cold War was a “betrayal” and showed the Labour leader “cannot be trusted”.
John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, has also dismissed stories as “ludicrous Tory lies” and “ridiculous and false allegations”.
In an interview on ITV’s This Morning, May was forced to insist she was enjoying the job of prime minister and was not preoccupied by being stabbed “in the back” by her own MPs.