Published On: Wed, Jun 14th, 2017

Tory MP and Army veteran blasts Jeremy Corbyn for ‘giving sucker’ to IRA during Troubles

In an interview with Newsnight, Colonel Bob Stewart said the British public had nothing to fear from a Tory-DUP alliance, and said the DUP was motivated to reach an agreement over fears of a Government led by the Labour leader.

Asked about the Unionists’ motivations, he said it was “the thought that if the Conservatives aren’t in power on the mainland”, Jeremy Corbyn, “who actually gave sucker to the Provisional IRA – sucker, when I was on the ground in Northern Ireland watching my soldiers fighting and losing their lives” would be.

The Beckenham MP added that the Unionists “don’t want that under any circumstances whatsoever”.

Colonel Steward served in the British Army for almost three decades between 1969 and 1996 and worked as an intelligence officer and company commander during the Troubles.

He was also the Incident commander at the Droppin Well bombing in Ballykelly, which killed 17 people.

His comments come amid a snowballing controversy surrounding talks between the Tories and DUP about an agreement which would give Theresa May’s party a majority in the Commons.

After a shock election result in which the Prime Minister was robbed of her parliamentary majority, Mrs May announced the Tories had begun negotiations with the DUP to attempt to form a Government.

But the negotiations were immediately condemned by critics, who cited the Unionists’ extreme views on homosexuality, the death penalty and abortion as reasons the Tories should not make a deal with the Northern Irish party.

But the alliance has also stoked fears it could put into jeopardy the Northern Ireland peace process.

Sir John Major, who had a role in setting up the 1998 Good Friday agreement with Tony Blair, said Mrs May was putting at risk the “rigorous impartiality” the British Government is supposed to keep between the unionists and republicans.

He told the BBC the Conservatives “will not be seen as impartial if they locked into a parliamentary deal with one of the Northern Ireland parties”.

He added: “And you never know in what unpredictable way events will turn out and we cannot know if that impartiality is going to be crucial at some stage in the future.

“I think the peace process is fragile. People shouldn’t regard it as a give. It isn’t certain. It is under stress.”

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