Former MI6 head concerned by Corbyn’s ‘past associations’

The past political associations of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn are a cause of worry for yet another secret service head.

Speaking to Sky News, Sir Richard Dearlove, who led MI6 for five years until 2004, said the intelligence community was disturbed by Mr Corbyn’s proximity to power.

“Someone coming from my background is troubled by Jeremy Corbyn’s past associations, some of which I find surprising and worrying. He may have abandoned them now, but I don’t think he can entirely, as it were, dump your past,” he told the broadcaster.

“He’s enthusiastically associated himself with groups and interests which I would not say were the friends of the British nation.”

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell - a notable ally of Mr Corbyn - wasn’t surprised by the comments from Sir Richard, who he labelled “a reactionary member of the establishment”.

“I don’t think he’d welcome a Labour government of any sort,” he responded.

“He was strongly criticised as the head of an organisation whose intelligence took us into the Iraq war, so I think he should have a bit of humility about the judgements he makes about individuals and others in the future.”

Sir Richard’s comments come just weeks after MI5’s official historian professor Christopher Andrew claimed that MI5 and MI6 would be reluctant to tell Jeremy Corbyn all he ought to know if the Labour leader ever rose to become UK prime minister.

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