• Jeremy Corbyn appointed communist Andrew Murray as Labour’s election chief 
  • Privately educated Murray, 58, was a member of Communist Party for 40 years 
  • Murray is a former chairman of controversial lobby group Stop The War Coalition
  • In 2004 the group was accused of supporting attacks on British troops in Iraq
  • He also faced claims he defended militants who beheaded hostage Ken Bigley 
  • But the radical group denied the claims and said the offending words had been removed from final statement 

Jake Wallis Simons, Associate Global Editor

Campaign chief: Andrew Murray (pictured) has been drafted in to mastermind Jeremby Coryn’s bid for Number 10

The Communist firebrand recruited by Jeremy Corbyn to mastermind Labour’s chaotic election campaign was once accused of supporting Iraqi insurgent attacks on British troops, MailOnline can reveal.

Andrew Murray also faced claims he defended Islamic militants who beheaded kidnapped British civil engineer Ken Bigley in Baghdad in 2004.

Murray was chairman of controversial lobby group Stop The War Coalition when it drew up a statement saying Iraqi militants should use ‘whatever means necessary’ against British forces in the country.

The draft, emailed to members in the same month that married 62-year-old Mr Bigley was murdered, was widely interpreted to condone attacks on British servicemen and civilians.

Two Labour MPs attacked the anti-war group and said their words would lead to ‘the murder of more people such as Mr Bigly, as well as hundreds of ordinary Iraqis’.

The MPs tabled a Commons motion urging Stop The War Coalition to ‘disavow the outrageous words which they said would only encourage those who use physical force in Iraq’.

The radical group denied the claims and said the statement had been removed from the letter that was finally sent out.

Mr Murray’s Stop the War denied supporting the killing of Mr Bigly and said the reference to Islamic insurgents using ‘whatever means necessary’ had been redacted.

Mr Corbyn and a number of other MPs hit back by tabling a counter motion praising the radical group’s activism.

Controversy: Murray, chair of the Stop The War Coalition, is pictured delivering a letter to the Conservative Party Headquarters during the group's emergency protest on December 1, 2015

Controversy: Murray, chair of the Stop The War Coalition, is pictured delivering a letter to the Conservative Party Headquarters during the group's emergency protest on December 1, 2015

Controversy: Murray, chair of the Stop The War Coalition, is pictured delivering a letter to the Conservative Party Headquarters during the group’s emergency protest on December 1, 2015

Long shot: Corbyn has brought privately educated communist firebrand Murray in to salvage the Labour party's chaotic election campaign

Long shot: Corbyn has brought privately educated communist firebrand Murray in to salvage the Labour party's chaotic election campaign

Long shot: Corbyn has brought privately educated communist firebrand Murray in to salvage the Labour party’s chaotic election campaign

The revelations lift the lid on Mr Murray’s background and his close links with Mr Corbyn, which have come under intense scrutiny since he was named as the mastermind of Labour’s election campaign.

Privately educated Mr Murray, 58, also once called for Nato to be ‘defeated’ when he spoke at a Europeans Against Nato rally in Strasbourg in 2009, MailOnline has learnt.

He said: ‘Our desire to defeat Nato demands that we extend the hand of sympathy and solidarity to those who are suffering from Nato’s policy of aggression and imperialism.’

It comes after Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry said that Corbyn had changed his mind about supporting Nato after previously branding it a ‘danger to world peace’..

Mr Murray also caused outrage after he condemned the Charlie Hebdo Paris terror attack – but when on to described it as ‘minute’ compared to historic imperialism.

He has spoken out in support of mass murdering dictator Joseph Stalin, writing an article asking ‘why hack propagandists abominate the name of Stalin beyond all others.’ 

When questioned about Mr Murray’s views, Jeremy Corbyn said: ‘I don’t believe that Andrew is anything other than a Democratic Socialist and member of the Labour Party like me.’

A Labour spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘We don’t comment on staffing matters.’ The Stop The War Coalition declined to comment.

Communist: Former Communist Party member Murray was chair of Stop The War Coalition in 2004 when it drafted an email seemingly supporting Iraqi insurgent attacks on British troops

Communist: Former Communist Party member Murray was chair of Stop The War Coalition in 2004 when it drafted an email seemingly supporting Iraqi insurgent attacks on British troops

Communist: Former Communist Party member Murray was chair of Stop The War Coalition in 2004 when it drafted an email seemingly supporting Iraqi insurgent attacks on British troops

Mr Corbyn and Mr Murray have been close friends and colleagues in the Stop The War Coalition for years. Both have acted as Chair of the radical group, with Mr Murray stepping in when Mr Corbyn stood down in 2011 to become Labour leader.

Like Mr Corbyn – who was privately educated and brought up in a seven-bedroom manor house – Mr Murray enjoyed a privileged upbringing.

Born into a prominent private banking family, he is descended from the Earl of Perth. His grandfather was Lord Rankeillour, a baronet and Tory MP, while his father, a stockbroker and banker, held the honorific title ‘Slains Pursuivant of Arms’, one of Scotland’s most coveted heraldic offices.

His mother, Barbara, was said to be descended from the Spanish kings of Navarre.

Mr Murray’s full title is Andrew Drummond-Murray of Mastrick. His father was a member of the Sacred Military Constantin Order of St George, the Venerable Order of St john and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

Campaigner: Mr Murray, pictured at a Stop the War demo at the BBC in 2015, once called for Nato to be 'defeated' when he spoke at a Europeans Against Nato rally in Strasbourg

Campaigner: Mr Murray, pictured at a Stop the War demo at the BBC in 2015, once called for Nato to be 'defeated' when he spoke at a Europeans Against Nato rally in Strasbourg

Campaigner: Mr Murray, pictured at a Stop the War demo at the BBC in 2015, once called for Nato to be ‘defeated’ when he spoke at a Europeans Against Nato rally in Strasbourg

After leaving the private Roman Catholic Worth School in Sussex, where fees are now £32,000 a year, he joined the Communist Party at the age of 18, at the height of the Cold War.

He remained a member for 40 years – only resigning last year before being appointed to lead Labour’s general election campaign.

Mr Murray took a job at the Soviet State-owned Novosti news agency and went on to work at the Morning Star Communist newspaper.

His first wife was academic Susan Michie, daughter of Dame Anne McLaren, whose father was Liberal peer Lord Aberconway. They had three children.

After the couple divorced in 1997, he married Anna Kruthoffer, a primary school business manager. They live in London. 

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