Corbyn provokes another policy split with his remarks on the Falkland Islands
The Labour Party has been forced into another public split following Jeremy Corbyn's comments about the Falkland Islands on the BBC's Andrew Marr show on 17 January. Corbyn's office is reported to have confirmed that the Labour Party leader was in favour of opening up a "dialogue without preconditions” with the Argentine Government about the issue. The outgoing Argentine Ambassador, Alicia Castro, is also reported to have said that Corbyn had indicated that attitudes were beginning to change and that dialogue was possible. Apparently, Corbyn favours a Northern Ireland-style power-sharing arrangement with Argentina in the Falklands.
This resulted in Labour's Shadow Foreign Secretary, Hilary Benn, having to issue a statement that the Labour Party's position on the Falkland Islands had not changed, namely strong support for the Falkland Islanders right of self-determination and their desire to remain a British Overseas Territory.
Hilary Benn survived Jeremy Corbyn's January reshuffle but his position may have been made more complicated by the appointment of Fabian Hamilton MP as his Shadow Junior Minister following Stephen Doughty's resignation from the post as a protest against Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the party. Fabian Hamilton, elected to Parliament in 1997 having previously served on Leeds City Council from 1987, will cover the Falkland Islands as part of his shadow ministerial portfolio. Although denying that he was a "loony leftie nutter”, Fabian Hamilton has been a life-long supporter of nuclear disarmament and opponent of Trident, serving on the Parliamentary CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament), which Jeremy Corbyn chaired. What his stance is on the Falklands remains to be seen.
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