Britain’s Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn refuses to sing anthem during Battle of Britain memorial service

September 16, 2015 2:44 am

 

Labour
leader ducks to avoid photographer while leaving St
Paul’s Cathedral after a service to mark the 75th anniversary of the
Battle of . Photo / Getty Images

Britain’s new Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, refused to sing the
national anthem at a memorial service to remember the heroes of the
Battle of Britain.
Mr Corbyn, a committed pacifist and
republican, stood silently as the congregation at St Paul’s Cathedral
sang God Save the Queen on the aerial conflict’s 75th anniversary.
Mr
Corbyn, who was dressed in non-matching jacket and trousers and had
failed to properly button his shirt, was branded a “disgrace” by
critics.
His spokesman defended his actions, saying Mr Corbyn had
attended the service “to show respect for those who fought” for
Britain, but confirmed he had not sung the anthem on purpose. A Labour
source added: “He stood in respectful silence during the anthem.”

David Cameron, who attended the event alongside Mr Corbyn and a
host of other dignitaries and Royals, aimed a thinly-veil barb at the
Labour leader for failing to sing the anthem.
The Prime
Minister’s official spokeswoman said: “The importance the Prime Minister
attaches to the national anthem is well known. Every time he is at one
of these commemorative services he is very proud and willing to join
with others in singing the national anthem.”
Ahead of the
memorial service Mr Corbyn also met Mr Cameron for the first time since
his victory – hours after he was embroiled in a major row with his own
MPs after refusing to say if he will wear a red poppy on Remembrance
Sunday because he is a pacifist.
Earlier Mr Corbyn did pay tribute to the “heroism” of the Royal Air Force but wants to prevent future military action.
He
said: “My mum served as an air raid warden and my dad in the Home
Guard. Like that whole generation, they showed tremendous courage and
determination to defeat fascism. The heroism of the Royal Air Force in
the Battle of Britain is something to which we all owe an enormous debt
of gratitude.
“The loss of life – both civilian and military –
should be commemorated so that we both honour their lives and do all
that we can to ensure future generations are spared the horrors of war.”
The
leader of the opposition is thought to have arrived on foot around 15
minutes before the St Paul’s Cathedral event, attended by veterans,
their families and senior RAF officers, began.
Mr Corbyn took his
front-row seat briefly, before standing to talk to some of the other
guests. David Cameron arrived sometime later and sat down at the end of a
row a few seats away from the Labour leader.

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