How Jeremy Corbyn was falsely linked to Warrington bombing

Jeremy Corbyn
Tom Coburg

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is a victim of yet another smear. This time it’s an attempt to link him with one of the 1993 bombings in Warrington attributed to the Provisional IRA. But the claim, ludicrous as it appears, barely survived before it vanished with little trace into the ethernet.

Except that is not quite true.

Trail uncovered

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The smear against Corbyn appears to have first originated with the Times newspaper, when Andrew Gilligan asserted that Corbyn attended several meetings with anti-fascists Red Action.

Next, Times columnist David Aaronovitch went one step further to argue that at least one Red Action member may have been responsible for the second of two Warrington bombings in 1993, both claimed by the IRA:

This follows a 2013 BBC documentary which also speculated about Red Action involvement.

What is known is that Patrick Hayes, a Red Action member, and Jan Taylor were convicted of planting a bomb outside Harrods in London and on a train in Kent, purportedly on behalf of the IRA.

But there has been no evidence produced that links either Hayes or Taylor with the Warrington atrocities.

Sneaky editing

Aaronovitch’s allegations against Corbyn seemingly came after the Wikipedia page on Red Action was edited on 19 August – the same day Gilligan’s article was published:

Here is the edit:

A search by The Canary traced the computer from which the edit came to a small Somerset village we’ve chosen not to name.

The edit, which was later removed, said:

In August 2018, it was reported that Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn was investigated by the police due to his involvement with the group while as an MP in the 1980s and 1990s. According to Andrew Gilligan in the The Sunday Times, ‘Jeremy Corbyn came to the attention of police after becoming involved with Red Action’ and ‘Corbyn spoke at at least three Red Action meetings between 1985 and 1992 and the group sometimes met at his then constituency office, ex-members said.’

There were several edits and re-edits to the Red Action page during the following days, specifically regarding mentions of Corbyn.

Notably, two years after the Warrington bombings, Red Action was infiltrated by an undercover police officer known as Mark Cassidy, but whose real name is Mark Jenner.

Politics?

The recent smears come shortly after shadow chancellor John McDonnell tweeted that a revival of the Anti Nazi League could be needed to help confront a rising far-right:

Justice

There were two bombings in Warrington in 1993 – the first was at the gas works, but no one was injured.

Tragically the second bombing in Bridge Street killed three-year-old Johnathan Ball and twelve-year-old Tim Parry and injured 54 members of the public. But the perpetrators of the bombing have never been identified, let alone charged or convicted.

The families of those who died or were injured in that bombing deserve justice, not media speculation and party politics.

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– Read more from The Canary about Jeremy Corbyn.

Featured image via Sophie Brown – Wikimedia

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