Watch Jeremy Corbyn attack media ‘lies and smears’ over Soviet spy claims

Jeremy Corbyn.

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Jeremy Corbyn.
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Matt Cardy/Getty Images

  • Jeremy Corbyn has attacked the British media following reports that claim he used to be a Communist informant.
  • The Labour Party leader say the stories prove the right-wing press is “worried” about the prospect of a Labour government.
  • He dismissed the allegations as “lies and smears.”

Jeremy Corbyn has attacked the British media over a series of reports quoting a Soviet-era spy who claims the Labour leader was a Communist informant in the 1980’s, calling the allegations “lies and smears.”

In a video shared to his social media channels on Tuesday evening, the left-wing politician argued the stories are evidence that the right-leaning press is becoming “worried” about a potential Labour government. (You can watch the full video below.)

“The Sun, The Mail, The Telegraph and The Express have all gone a little bit James Bond,” he said.

Last week, former Czech spy Ján Sarkocy said he had met with the Labour leader before the fall of the Soviet Union, and that Corbyn was paid for intelligence he provided. A spokesperson for Corbyn denied the claim, saying that Corbyn had met with someone who he believed to be a Czech diplomat but did not provide any privileged information.

Soviet spies are known to lie about their sources, casting doubt on the files’ veracity, they said: “The former Czechoslovak agent Jan Sarkocy’s account of his meeting with Jeremy was false 30 years ago, is false now and has no credibility whatsoever.”

The head of the Czech Security Forces Archive (which keeps the communist-era spy agency StB’s archives) has also said that Corbyn did not know who he was meeting with, Prague Daily Monitor reported. “Mr Corbyn was neither registered [by the StB] as a collaborator, nor does this [his collaboration] stem from archive documents,” Svetlana Ptacnikova said.

Corbyn dismissed the allegations as “nonsense” when he was was asked about them at a press conference on Tuesday.

In his video, Corbyn said: “It’s easy to laugh, but something more serious is happening. Publishing these ridiculous smears that have been refuted by Czech officials shows just how worried the media bosses are by the prospect of a Labour government.

“They’re right to be. Labour will stand up to the powerful and corrupt – and take the side of the many, not the few.

“A free press is essential for democracy and we don’t want to close it down, we want to open it up. At the moment, much of our press isn’t very free at all. In fact it’s controlled by billionaire tax exiles, who are determined to dodge paying their fair share for our vital public services.”

Here’s the full video:

And here’s a transcript of Jeremy Corbyn’s remarks:

In the last few days, The Sun, The Mail, The Telegraph and The Express have all gone a little bit James Bond.

They’ve found a former Czechoslovakian spy whose claims are increasingly wild and entirely false.

He seems to believe I kept him informed about what Margaret Thatcher had for breakfast and says he was responsible for either Live Aid or the Mandela Concert – or maybe both.

It’s easy to laugh, but something more serious is happening. Publishing these ridiculous smears that have been refuted by Czech officials shows just how worried the media bosses are by the prospect of a Labour government.

They’re right to be. Labour will stand up to the powerful and corrupt – and take the side of the many, not the few.

A free press is essential for democracy and we don’t want to close it down, we want to open it up. At the moment, much of our press isn’t very free at all. In fact it’s controlled by billionaire tax exiles, who are determined to dodge paying their fair share for our vital public services.

The General Election showed the media barons are losing their influence and social media means their bad old habits are becoming less and less relevant.

But instead of learning these lessons they’re continuing to resort to lies and smears. Their readers – you, all of us – deserve so much better.

Well, we’ve got news for them: change is coming.