Jeremy Corbyn faces new storm over his undeclared trip to visit Hamas

Jeremy Corbyn faces new storm over his undeclared trip to visit Hamas chiefs as Tory MP reports the Labour leader to commissioner for ‘breaking parliamentary rules’

  • He met with Hamas parliamentarians during a visit to Israel and the West Bank
  • Tory MP Andrew Percy reported Corbyn to the Parliamentary Commissioner 
  • Corbyn is already facing an inquiry into a separate trip to the Tunisian capital 

Jeremy Corbyn was last night facing a fresh investigation into whether he broke parliamentary rules by failing to declare a visit to meet terror group Hamas.

The Labour leader met two groups of Hamas parliamentarians during a visit to Israel and the West Bank in 2010.

He has previously referred to the organisation as his ‘friends’, despite it being designated as a terrorist group by the EU. 

But Mr Corbyn, then a backbench MP, did not register the trip – raising questions over whether he violated parliamentary rules.

Another Labour MP on the trip, Andy Slaughter, did declare it in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests, saying it cost £927. 

Last night, Tory MP Andrew Percy reported Mr Corbyn to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

The Labour leader (pictured left in Falkirk today) highlighted his meeting with Khaled Mashal (pictured right) in an article for the communist Morning Star newspaper in 2010

Mr Corbyn is already facing an inquiry into a separate trip to the Tunisian capital Tunis, which he did not declare despite spending two nights in a five-star hotel.

During the 2014 visit, he was pictured at a wreath-laying ceremony in a cemetery where members of Black September – the terror group behind the 1972 Munich Olympics attack – are buried.

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The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism and Tory MP Andrew Bridgen have reported him to the Parliamentary Commissioner over the 2014 trip, which Labour claims cost less than the threshold at which visits have to be declared.

The 2010 Israel visit was run by pro-Hamas group Middle East Monitor (Memo) and included meetings with Hamas officials.

Hammersmith MP Mr Slaughter and Mr Corbyn’s top aide, Seumas Milne, were also present. Mr Slaughter declared the total cost of flights and accommodation as £927, which he said was paid by Friends of Al-Aqsa and Memo.

Mr Corbyn was trying to move on from the crisis over his contacts with extremists as he visited a bus manufacturer in Falkirk today

But Labour insists the trip fell below the financial threshold for disclosing gifts. Rules at the time required MPs to declare any above £660.

Memo has since deleted online evidence of Mr Corbyn’s visit, but Israeli news channel i24NEWS said it had obtained the original report. 

It said Mr Corbyn visited the wife of a man convicted of spying for Hezbollah, whom the Memo report called a ‘political prisoner’.

Mr Corbyn was also said to have attended a Bedouin protest as well as meeting Palestinian Authority officials. But he did not meet a single Jewish Israeli on the trip, the report stated. 

A Labour insider is quoted in the piece as saying: ‘I imagine he’s met more people who have killed Israelis than actual Israelis.’

Israel is referred to in the Memo report as ‘the Zionist state’, and accused of ‘apartheid’ and ‘ethnic cleansing’ in Jerusalem. 

On his return, Mr Corbyn reported on his experiences in his Morning Star newspaper column, writing: ‘It is time to bring those Israelis who committed crimes against humanity to account and to end the EU Israel Trade Agreement while the occupation and settlement policy continues.’

Mr Corbyn is facing close scrutiny of his foreign visits after his trip to Tunisia, which was paid for by the Tunisian government but was not declared in the parliamentary register.

The Sunday Telegraph reported that Mr Corbyn had made at least nine visits since 2007 which he did not declare. But Labour said it was ‘confident’ that all declarations for trips above the spending threshold were made.

It comes a month after Democratic Unionist Party MP Ian Paisley was suspended after he failed to declare two family holidays paid for by the Sri Lankan government.

Mr Corbyn also reportedly had a takeaway dinner with Hamas chief Khaled Mashal in Gaza in 2010. But yesterday he said he could not recall it, despite writing about it in his Morning Star column.

He said: ‘A takeaway dinner? I don’t remember any takeaway dinners. I have met many people from many aspects of the Palestinian cause as a way of bringing about dialogue, as a way of bringing about peace.’

Jeremy Corbyn is seen posing with a wreath under a distinctive red canopy as other politicians look on. This canopy runs alongside the graves of Salah Khalaf, Hayel Abdel-Hamid, Fakhri al-Omari and Atef Bseiso, three of whom have been linked to Black September, the group behind the 1972 atrocity at the Munich Olympic Games

Mr Percy, vice-chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on anti-Semitism, said: ‘The allegations that Mr Corbyn took part in an undeclared trip to meet with representatives of the anti-Semitic terrorist group Hamas are very serious indeed. 

‘I have reported him to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner and asked for a full investigation.

‘Of concern also are allegations that the group who organised this visit have attempted to remove evidence of it from the internet.

‘If this is the case, it raises the prospect that there may have been an attempted cover-up.

‘If so, we need answers as to whether the Labour leader’s office were a part of this alleged cover-up or not. Leaving aside the parliamentary rules, it is also a further worrying example of Mr Corbyn’s indulgence of the Hamas terrorist group.’

Labour Friends of Israel chairman Joan Ryan condemned the visit, saying: ‘It is appalling. 

Hamas is responsible for some of the most heinous terrorist crimes over recent years, including the murder of teenage girls outside a disco, and families in pizza restaurants and cafes. 

He should apologise immediately to the bereaved families of those butchered by these terrorists.’

A Labour spokesman said: ‘Jeremy has a long and principled record of solidarity with Palestinian people and engaging with actors in the conflict to support peace and justice in the Middle East. That is the right thing to do.’ 

Now leader’s ally linked to terror group 

Key Corbyn ally Tony Lloyd met senior Hamas members, it emerged last night.

The shadow Northern Ireland secretary was pictured meeting the group’s leader Ismail Haniyeh and Hamas politician Ahmad Bahar in 2011.

Haniyeh was added to America’s ‘terror list’ earlier this year. Hamas is designated as a terrorist organisation by the EU.

The US State Department says Haniyeh, who has been jailed several times, ‘poses a significant risk of committing acts of terrorism’. 

In 2016, Bahar called on others to follow in the footsteps of a terrorist who murdered a newly married police officer and a 60-year-old grandmother.

Mr Lloyd went on the £1,680 trip to Gaza and Egypt as a guest of the Council for European Palestinian Relations, which serves as Hamas’s representative in Europe. Labour last night declined to give an official response.

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