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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at a miners' rally in Midlothian. Jane Barlow/PA Images
from jezza with love

Jeremy Corbyn hits back at The Sun's 'commie spy' claims, calling them 'a little bit James Bond'

The British Labour leader says UK ‘media barons’ are running scared.

BRITISH LABOUR LEADER Jeremy Corbyn has accused some of the UK’s biggest newspapers of going “a little bit James Bond” with claims about him.

Last week, The Sun published a front page story containing claims from a former spy for then-Czechoslovakia that Corbyn had knowingly cooperated with the communist intelligence agency.

The right-wing tabloid published documents purportedly from the Czech State Security Archive referring to meetings between an agent and Corbyn in 1986.

A spokesperson for Corbyn declared the claims to be a “ridiculous smear” adding that the report had “no credibility whatsoever”.

Corbyn was a relatively new far-left Labour MP at the time, having been first elected to parliament in 1983.

A spokesman for the Labour leader said he met a diplomat but never knowingly talked to a spy and “neither had nor offered any privileged information”.

The spy, 64-year-old Jan Sarkocy, worked at the Czechoslovakian embassy in London before being expelled from Britain in 1989.

PastedImage-26932 The Sun's front page story last Thursday. Twitter Twitter

Following a weekend in which a number of other British newspapers have also published The Sun’s claims, Corbyn today came out with a video statement criticising the story.

“In the last few days The Sun, The Mail, The Telegraph and The Express have gone a little bit James Bond. They’ve found a former Czechoslovakia spy whose claims are increasingly wild and entirely false,” Corbyn said.

“He seems to believe I kept him informed about what Margaret Thatcher had for breakfast and says he was responsible for either Live Aid or the Mandela Concert – or maybe both,”

It’s easy to laugh, but something more serious is happening. Publishing these ridiculous smears that have been refuted by Czech officials shows just how worried the media bosses are by the prospect of a Labour government. They’re right to be. Labour will stand up to the powerful and corrupt and take the side of the many, not the few.

“A free press is essential for democracy and we don’t want to close it down, we want to open it up. At the moment, much of our press isn’t very free at all. In fact it’s controlled by billionaire tax exiles, who are determined to dodge paying their fair share for our vital public services,” Corbyn added.

The general election showed the media barons are losing their influence and social media means their bad old habits are becoming less and less relevant. But instead of learning these lessons they’re continuing to resort to lies and smears. Their readers – you, all of us – deserve so much better. Well, we’ve got news for them: change is coming.

In The Sun’s story, it’s claimed that Corbyn had been given the codename “COB”.

Speaking to BBC News, the head the Czech Security Forces Archive says the way Corbyn’s name was recorded in their records suggests he was ‘a person of interest’ rather than ‘an informer’.

“Mr Corbyn was not a secret collaborator working for the Czechoslovak intelligence service,” Svetlana Ptacnikova told the BBC.

“The files we have on him are kept in a folder that starts with the identification number one.

“Secret collaborators were allocated folders that start with the number four. If he had been successfully recruited as an informer, then his person of interest file would have been closed, and a new one would have been opened, and that would have started with the number four.”

- With reporting by © – AFP 2018

Read: Nigel Farage says top EU negotiator ‘clearly doesn’t understand Brexit’ >

Read: Tony Blair has had a huge go at Jeremy Corbyn’s position on Brexit >

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