Family of Birmingham pub bomb victim attack Jeremy Corbyn

13 May

The bereaved family of a woman murdered by the IRA have launched a blistering attack on Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, accusing them of ‘having blood on their hands’.

Julie Hambleton, 54, whose sister Maxine was killed in the Birmingham bomb of 1974, said the Labour leader and Shadow Chancellor were ‘not fit to hold high office and not fit to be trusted’ because they have supported the IRA.

‘It makes a mockery of the suffering we’ve gone through that these people are running for office,’ she told MailOnline. 

‘Words fail me, and words fail so many other people, too. It’s just unforgivable.’

Her brother, Brian, 62, added: ‘It sickens me. In all honesty, I would not shake Corbyn or McDonnell’s hands. They’ve got blood on their hands.

‘If there’s a gang and just one of them kills a victim, the others are drawn in by association. That’s what we’re talking about with Corbyn and McDonnell.

Lost: Maxine Hambleton, pictured, was one of 21 people killed when the IRA set off bombs in two Birmingham pubs. Her siblings have said the Labour leader and Shadow Chancellor are 'not fit to hold high office' because they 'sympathise with the IRA'

Lost: Maxine Hambleton, pictured, was one of 21 people killed when the IRA set off bombs in two Birmingham pubs. Her siblings have said the Labour leader and Shadow Chancellor are 'not fit to hold high office' because they 'sympathise with the IRA'

Lost: Maxine Hambleton, pictured, was one of 21 people killed when the IRA set off bombs in two Birmingham pubs. Her siblings have said the Labour leader and Shadow Chancellor are ‘not fit to hold high office’ because they ‘sympathise with the IRA’

Grief: Maxine's brother and sister told MailOnline it is 'painful to know that supporters of the group that killed my sister could be the next Prime Minister and Chancellor'. Pictured: One of the pubs bombed in 1974

Grief: Maxine's brother and sister told MailOnline it is 'painful to know that supporters of the group that killed my sister could be the next Prime Minister and Chancellor'. Pictured: One of the pubs bombed in 1974

Grief: Maxine’s brother and sister told MailOnline it is ‘painful to know that supporters of the group that killed my sister could be the next Prime Minister and Chancellor’. Pictured: One of the pubs bombed in 1974

Julie and Brian Hambleton, pictured, who lost their sister Maxine in the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings, have accused Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Home Secretary John McDonnell of having 'blood on their hands' for 'sympathising with the IRA'

Julie and Brian Hambleton, pictured, who lost their sister Maxine in the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings, have accused Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Home Secretary John McDonnell of having 'blood on their hands' for 'sympathising with the IRA'

Julie and Brian Hambleton, pictured, who lost their sister Maxine in the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings, have accused Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Home Secretary John McDonnell of having ‘blood on their hands’ for ‘sympathising with the IRA’

‘It’s painful to know that supporters of the group that killed my sister could be the next Prime Minister and Chancellor. I don’t think anyone could vote for them with a clear conscience.’

It comes after the Labour leader caused outrage by snubbing an elderly army veteran who wished to question Labour’s policy on Northern Ireland at a rally in York.

‘He saw the beret and the medals and he went,’ said Rob Gray, 62, who served two tours in Northern Ireland as a member of the 1st battalion of the Duke of Wellington regiment.

Both Mr Corbyn and Mr McDonnell claim they do not support violence, but the Shadow Chancellor has praised ‘the bravery of the IRA’ in the past.

In 2015, he apologised for a speech in which he ‘honoured’ the ‘bombs and bullets and sacrifice’ of the IRA.

That same year, Mr Corbyn defended his connections with IRA leaders, arguing that dialogue was necessary to bring about peace.

‘I don’t want violence, I don’t want killing, I don’t want all the horrors that go with it,’ he said.

‘The violence was wrong on all sides and I have said so all along. My whole point was if we are to bring about a peace process, you weren’t going to achieve it by military means.’

Mr Corbyn famously invited IRA terrorists to Parliament two weeks after the Brighton bombing in 1984, and stood for a minute’s silence to honour IRA militants killed by the SAS.

Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, Mr Hambleton lashed out furiously at the Labour leadership.

Determined: Brian Hambleton, who is still fighting for an inquest into the bombing which killed his sister Maxine, pictured, said: 'If there's a gang and just one of them kills a victim, the others are drawn in by association'

Determined: Brian Hambleton, who is still fighting for an inquest into the bombing which killed his sister Maxine, pictured, said: 'If there's a gang and just one of them kills a victim, the others are drawn in by association'

Determined: Brian Hambleton, who is still fighting for an inquest into the bombing which killed his sister Maxine, pictured, said: ‘If there’s a gang and just one of them kills a victim, the others are drawn in by association’

Mr McDonnell once 'honoured' the 'bombs and bullets and sacrifice' of the IRA while Mr Corbyn famously invited IRA terrorists to Parliament two weeks after the Brighton bombing in 1984: Pictured: Julie and Brian Hambleton

Mr McDonnell once 'honoured' the 'bombs and bullets and sacrifice' of the IRA while Mr Corbyn famously invited IRA terrorists to Parliament two weeks after the Brighton bombing in 1984: Pictured: Julie and Brian Hambleton

Mr McDonnell once ‘honoured’ the ‘bombs and bullets and sacrifice’ of the IRA while Mr Corbyn famously invited IRA terrorists to Parliament two weeks after the Brighton bombing in 1984: Pictured: Julie and Brian Hambleton

Brian went on to say he did not think 'anyone' could vote for the Labour party with a clear conscience, given their top brass have been known to sympathise with the group which was widely blamed for the Birmingham bombing, pictured

Brian went on to say he did not think 'anyone' could vote for the Labour party with a clear conscience, given their top brass have been known to sympathise with the group which was widely blamed for the Birmingham bombing, pictured

Brian went on to say he did not think ‘anyone’ could vote for the Labour party with a clear conscience, given their top brass have been known to sympathise with the group which was widely blamed for the Birmingham bombing, pictured

Maxine was 18 when she and 20 other people were killed in two explosions at The Mulberry Bush and Tavern in the Town in central Birmingham

Maxine was 18 when she and 20 other people were killed in two explosions at The Mulberry Bush and Tavern in the Town in central Birmingham

Maxine was 18 when she and 20 other people were killed in two explosions at The Mulberry Bush and Tavern in the Town in central Birmingham

Maxine was 18 when she and 20 other people were killed in two explosions at The Mulberry Bush and Tavern in the Town in central Birmingham

Maxine was 18 when she and 20 other people were killed in two explosions at The Mulberry Bush and Tavern in the Town in central Birmingham

CORBYN AND McDONNELL’S SYMPATHY TOWARDS IRA 

The Labour leader and Shadow Chancellor have a long history of sympathy for the IRA, though both men claim to abhor violence.

In a notorious BBC interview in 2015, Mr Corbyn was asked five times to condemn the IRA’s atrocities during the Troubles – but caused outrage by repeatedly sidestepping the question.

The Labour leader attended several pro-IRA events in the Eighties and Nineties, and once stood for a minute’s silence to honour IRA militants killed by the SAS.

Labour leader Corbyn, above, and Shadow Chancellor McDonnell both abhor violence but each of them has a history of sympathy for the IRA

Labour leader Corbyn, above, and Shadow Chancellor McDonnell both abhor violence but each of them has a history of sympathy for the IRA

Labour leader Corbyn, above, and Shadow Chancellor McDonnell both abhor violence but each of them has a history of sympathy for the IRA

He was widely condemned when he invited members of Sinn Fein, including Gerry Adams, into the Commons in 1984, a fortnight after the IRA’s Brighton bombing which killed five and injured 31.

Mr Corbyn again provoked fury in March by paying a glowing tribute to former IRA commander Martin McGuinness, calling him a ‘great family man’.

He had controversially shared a platform with Mr McGuinness at a news conference at the House of Commons in 1995, and posed with him and Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams at Portcullis House two decades later.

The Labour leader was also accused of ‘traitorous’ behaviour for helping Mr Adams plug his autobiography inside the Houses of Parliament in 1996.

Mr McDonnell has also been an enthusiastic supporter of the IRA over the years, and in 2003 made a controversial speech in which he ‘honoured’ the ‘bombs and bullets and sacrifice’ of the ‘brave’ IRA.

Shadow Chancellor McDonnell, pictured, has previously praised 'the bravery of the IRA'

Shadow Chancellor McDonnell, pictured, has previously praised 'the bravery of the IRA'

Shadow Chancellor McDonnell, pictured, has previously praised ‘the bravery of the IRA’

He said: ‘It’s about time we started honouring those people involved in the armed struggle. It was the bombs and bullets and sacrifice made by the likes of Bobby Sands that brought Britain to the negotiating table.’

In 2015, he apologised for the remarks.

It later emerged that in 1986, at the height of the Troubles, Mr McDonnell suggested that ‘kneecapping might help change the mind’ of the ‘gutless wimps’ who boycotted a pro-Republican meeting.

‘Corbyn and McDonnell spout about British life and how it should be, yet they’ve supported terrorists who killed loved ones of the people they’d like to serve,’ he said.

‘These people actually must think the public have got Alzheimer’s.’

He added: ‘It’s quite frightening. We’re at a stage where if Labour scrape into power, I’d hate to refer to myself as British.’

Maxine Hambleton was killed at the age of 18 along with 20 other victims in the Birmingham pub bombings in November 1974. Her brother and sister are still fighting for an inquest into the murders with a campaign called Justice 4 the 21.

The Hambletons emphasised that they are not aligned to any political party and are speaking out against the Labour leadership strictly out of conscience.

Labour MPs like Jess Phillips, Khalid Mahmoud and Steve McCabe have been ‘superb’ in supporting their campaign, they stressed.

Ms Hambleton told MailOnline: ‘For me personally, it makes a farce of our democratic system. How on earth is it possible for people like McDonnell, who openly admits he supported a terrorist organisation, to be this close to Government?

‘It is disbelief, I have to say. Every time Corbyn or McDonnell are on TV, I switch it off. I have no interest in anything they have to say.

‘You don’t need to be a family member of the victim of a terrorist atrocity to have little faith in them or what they say. Even their own MPs don’t think they are sufficient to hold high office.’

The Hambletons' scathing attack on Labour's top brass comes after Corbyn caused outrage by publicly snubbing army veteran Rob Gray, above, who wanted to question Labour's policy on Northern Ireland at a rally in York

The Hambletons' scathing attack on Labour's top brass comes after Corbyn caused outrage by publicly snubbing army veteran Rob Gray, above, who wanted to question Labour's policy on Northern Ireland at a rally in York

The Hambletons’ scathing attack on Labour’s top brass comes after Corbyn caused outrage by publicly snubbing army veteran Rob Gray, above, who wanted to question Labour’s policy on Northern Ireland at a rally in York

Mr Gray, 62, who served two tours in Northern Ireland, claims Corbyn avoided him after he 'saw the beret and the medals' he was wearing

Mr Gray, 62, who served two tours in Northern Ireland, claims Corbyn avoided him after he 'saw the beret and the medals' he was wearing

Mr Gray, 62, who served two tours in Northern Ireland, claims Corbyn avoided him after he ‘saw the beret and the medals’ he was wearing

Mr Hamilton said: ‘To me, their IRA support is a stain on their past and their future. The far-Left never changes its spots. If Corbyn gets into power with his past, that’s only going to be a big plus for Sinn Fein so far as I’m concerned.’

Although the Hambletons are not politically aligned, they said they had ‘only good things’ to say about Theresa May, who has supported their campaign.

‘She was the only one out of anybody in the Government who had the courage and the honour and integrity to meet us,’ Ms Hambleton said.

In December, Ms Hambleton hand-wrote a letter to the Prime Minister and it was delivered to her personally by the editor of the Birmingham Mail.

Sir Oliver Heald, the Justice Minister, contacted her by telephone the next day. As a result, the preliminary hearing for the inquest will be held at the end of the month.

‘Theresa May has done a lot of beavering around on our behalf without putting herself on a pedestal,’ Mr Hambleton said.

‘I think she has good a good conscience of mind. She’s obviously a very well-rounded lady. She did seem quite empathetic towards us. We politely pleaded with her for help. And she helped us.

‘She was very empathetic. It was a proper meeting of minds and emotions.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply