Jeremy Corbyn has accused Boris Johnson of “hiding behind his defence secretary” after failing to appear in the Commons today to answer questions about the ongoing crisis in Iran.
The outgoing Labour leader called on Ben Wallace to say where Prime Minister Johnson was, “and what he is doing that is so much more important than addressing parliament on the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Suleimani, an extremely dangerous and aggressive act that risks starting yet another deadly war in the Middle East?”
Corbyn claimed that Johnson was “scared to stand up to President Trump because he has hitched his wagon to the prospect of a toxic Trump trade deal”.
But Wallace fought fire with fire.
“I’m afraid instead of getting a serious interrogation… of how we are going to de-escalate this situation in the Middle East, about how we are going to make sure British citizens and British allies are secure, we have had the usual tripe about ‘this is about Trump, this is about America’ and all the usual anti-American, anti-imperialist guff that we had from it,” the defence secretary said.
He added: “[Corbyn] asked where the Prime Minister is, well funnily enough, the Prime Minister is running the country. Something [he] will fail to ever do as a result of the election.”
The government also came under fire for the ongoing situation regarding Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian charity worker who was sentenced to five years in prison for allegedly plotting against the Iranian government.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has always maintained her innocence, was being “left to rot in jail in Iran while the situation between the US and Iran escalates more and more,” constituency MP Tulip Siddiq claimed.
Wallace said the government will do “everything it can to get released from prison, not just her constituent, but the very many dual nationals currently languishing in those jails”.
“This has been a long-term foreign policy tool of the Iranian government to incarcerate people it doesn’t like or to intimidate nations,” he noted.
“We will do everything we can to try and get her constituent released and I mean everything. Everything within international law.”
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