Former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is attending the Edinburgh Festival Fringe today. He joins former Unite the Union leader Len McCluskey for their show called ‘Politics and Poetry with Corbyn and McCluskey’. Mr Corbyn is arguably one of the most opinion-splitting political figures in the UK – adored by many on the Left, but loathed enough by the electorate to suffer a crushing defeat in the 2019 general election. One area where the MP for Islington North regularly attracts criticism is his views on foreign affairs.
His outspoken nature on political disputes around the world saw him meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2015.
They met for 30 minutes in room 1844 of Buckingham Palace.
During the talks, Mr Corbyn praised Xi for his “remarkable” achievement of taking millions of people out of poverty.
However, according to a party spokesperson, the then-Labour leader was quick to raise concerns related to “the issues of human rights and the impacts of Chinese imports on the UK steel industry”.
In the talks that were described as “cordial and constructive”, the Chinese President congratulated Mr Corbyn for his Labour leadership triumph and told him “we stand ready to work together with Britain”.
China’s economic growth has helped millions out of poverty in recent decades, but the country’s treatment of Uighur Muslims and undemocratic governance remains a concern for world leaders.
Mr Corbyn has also given his views about the Russian invasion of Ukraine in recent months.
President Vladimir Putin sent his forces into Ukraine in February, and since then, the UK and other western allies have been providing the Ukrainians with weapons.
During an interview with Al Mayadeen, a Lebanon-based TV channel which has previously been accused of siding with terrorist organisation Hezbollah and Syrian despot Bashar al-Assad, Mr Corbyn said that giving Ukraine more weapons would not stop the conflict.
He said: “Pouring arms in isn’t going to bring about a solution, it’s only going to prolong and exaggerate this war.”
Alexander Stafford, a Tory MP with Ukrainian heritage, responded to the comments furiously last week.
He said: “These comments are an absolute disgrace and smack of the worst type of appeasement.
READ MORE: ‘We are not scared’ Taipei stands tall as US falls quiet – MORE drills
“History is clear that the only way to stop despots attacking innocents is to show strength.”
Former Labour MP Mike Gapes also added: “So many Labour MPs and members were prepared to support this threat to our national security. And he is still a member of Labour. Why?”
Tory MP Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Commons defence committee, also warned: “Russia will re-broadcast his words in an attempt to show UK support for Ukraine is slipping.”
Mr Corbyn has been a longstanding critic of NATO, and maintains that he would like to see the alliance disbanded despite what has happened in Ukraine.
Speaking to Times Radio in April, he argued that people should “look at the process that could happen at the end of the Ukraine war”.
He added: “Do military alliances bring peace?
‘Atomic message’ White House drenched in radioactive blood [INSIGHT]
Roger Waters in furious anti-US rant ‘China didn’t invade Iraq!’ [ANALYSIS]
China expert lets slip reason behind Xi Jinping’s Taiwan focus [INSIGHT]
“I would want to see a world where we start to ultimately disband all military alliances. The issue has to be: what’s the best way of bringing about peace in the future? Is it by more alliances? Is it by more military buildup?
“Or is it by stopping the war in Ukraine and the other wars… that are going on at the present time, which are also killing a very large number of people?
“And ask yourself the question: do military alliances bring peace? Or do they actually encourage each other and build up to a greater danger?
“I don’t blame NATO for the fact that Russia has invaded Ukraine. What I say is look at the thing historically, and look at the process that could happen at the end of the Ukraine war.”