- REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
- Claims that Jeremy Corbyn was a paid soviet informant have had no impact on public support for him according to a new poll.
- The YouGov polls finds a large majority of voters have not changed their mind about the Labour leader because of the stories.
- Labour’s support has actually risen one point since the stories began.
- A Conservative MP has issued a grovelling apology to Corbyn for making false spy claims about him.
LONDON – Claims by a former Czech spy that Jeremy Corbyn was a paid ‘collaborator’ during the Cold War have not reduced support for the Labour leader or his party according to a new poll.
The YouGov poll for the Times, out on Saturday, found that just 8% of voters thought worse of the Labour leader because of the claims, but 6% thought better of him. The majority, 64%, said the stories had made absolutely no difference to their opinion on Corbyn.
The poll also found Labour’s support has actually risen since the stories began. Labour’s support has gone up one point to 42%, with the Conservatives unchanged on 40%.
The poll findings come as a Conservative MP has issued a grovelling apology for false statement he made about the Labour leader’s links too spies.
It follows a week of front page stories in newspapers, including The Sun, Daily Mail and Telegraph which alleged that Corbyn and other senior figures were “assets” of the former Czech spy Jan Sarkocy.
Sarkocy’s accounts have continued to dominate the news this week, despite being vehemently denied by the Labour leadership and roundly dismissed by Czech authorities, who say there is no evidence Corbyn was ever a paid informant.
“When you compare the documents which [Sarkocy] had written and signed himself with what he is saying today, based on that he is a liar,”Radek Schovánek, Czech Republic defence ministry analyst told the Guardian.
Conservative MP apologises to Corbyn for spy smear
Conservative MP Ben Bradley was forced to issue an apology to the Labour leader on Saturday as well as make a “substantial donation” to charity, after tweeting false claims about Corbyn’s links to Soviet spies.
“I am very sorry for publishing this untrue and false statement,” Bradley said in a statement.
“On 19 February 2018 I made a seriously defamatory statement on my Twitter account, ‘Ben Bradley MP (bbradleymp)’, about Jeremy Corbyn, alleging he sold British secrets to communist spies. I have since deleted the defamatory tweet.
“I have agreed to pay an undisclosed substantial sum of money to a charity of his choice, and I will also pay his legal costs.
“I fully accept that my statement was wholly untrue and false. I accept that I caused distress and upset to Jeremy Corbyn by my untrue and false allegations, suggesting he had betrayed his country by collaborating with foreign spies.”