Scottish MP laments ‘shameful act’ of soldiers shooting at Corbyn image

Soldiers pictured shooting at an image of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn carried out a “shameful act which destroys the reputation of the British Army”, an MP has said.

Labour’s Paul Sweeney, who represents Glasgow North East, lamented the footage captured in Kabul, Afghanistan.

It shows personnel from 3rd Battalion, Parachute Regiment, using a picture of the Islington North MP for target practice on a Simunition range.

Mr Sweeney, who served as an army reserve soldier for 12 years, raised a point of order in the House of Commons and asked John Bercow if he shared his “alarm and dismay” about the video.

The Commons Speaker condemned the footage and said he would be “horrified” if service personnel behaved in such a way to any MP.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Sweeney told the Press Association: “This is deeply worrying.

“It’s been almost three years now since Jo Cox was tragically assassinated on the streets of this country by a right-wing fascist, and that’s a real threat to democracy.

“What we’ve seen is a stoking up of hatred, of very partisan speech, of identity politics, of trying to discredit on a very fundamental level your political opponents, and I think that’s something that’s shameful.

“We need to really address it because clearly it’s bleeding into the population in really negative ways.

“We’re seeing soldiers in the British Army, in the Parachute Regiment, demonstrating that sort of willingness to behave in that way. They have values and standards.”

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, in London to meet Mr Corbyn and the Prime Minister, also expressed dismay at the clip.

She tweeted: “This is appalling and the MOD is right to launch a full investigation.”

Mr Sweeney added: “I was a former army reservist so I know exactly what is expected of the British soldiers.

“What they’ve done is totally at odds with that. It’s a shameful act which destroys the reputation of the British Army.

“They need to be held to account for that action but it demonstrates a more worrying trend in our society, where we’re prepared to see that kind of behaviour enacted against a key part of our democracy.

“Whether you like him or not, Jeremy Corbyn is the leader of Her Majesty’s official Opposition in Parliament, and Parliament is the supreme democratic body in this country.”

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