Corbyn has 'no regrets' over meeting with Czech diplomat

Jeremy Corbyn has said he has no regrets over his 1980s meeting with a Czech diplomat who was allegedly a spy.

The Labour leader said the pair simply had a general discussion about politics at the time, including the potential for Cold War detente under Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Mr Corbyn said they also discussed his opposition to Margaret Thatcher's Tory government.

He has already flatly denied claims that he passed information to an agent of the Czech StB intelligence agency, describing the accusation as "nonsense".

According to the original report in the Sun, documents unearthed in the StB archives showed that Mr Corbyn met a Czech agent on at least three occasions - including twice in the House of Commons - during the 1980s and was given the codename Cob.

The Labour leader's office acknowledged that he had tea in the Commons with a Czech diplomat, but said any claim Mr Corbyn was "an agent, asset or informer for any intelligence agency is entirely false and a ridiculous smear".

Mr Corbyn said he had no regrets over the meeting, telling ITV News: "Not at all. I met him as did many many other members of Parliament.

"I also met a lot of American diplomats during that period, I went to the US embassy to talk to them about what I thought was their wholly wrong strategy in central America.

"If you are a serious member of Parliament and serious about international affairs, you meet people, you don't agree with most of them, but you have to meet them to understand what their position is and try and put forward your own view on peace, justice and human rights.

"I don't regret any of it, why should I?"

The Labour leader said he met the Czech diplomat to the potential for Cold War detente under then Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev (Zak Hussein)
The Labour leader said he met the Czech diplomat to the potential for Cold War detente under then Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev (Zak Hussein)

Mr Corbyn added: "I met him, as did a number of other people, he was the diplomat working in the Czech embassy and his job was to talk about peace and detente, this was a time that Gorbachev was president of the USSR, there was a real chance of detente developing, of more peace within Europe.

"We spoke about those matters and I told him what I thought, and he bizarrely discovered that I was opposed to Margaret Thatcher and the Tory government.

"I think it should not have been a surprise to him, but I had no knowledge of what Margaret Thatcher ever ate for breakfast, she never told me."