Corbyn condemns Salisbury attack

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The fragile truce on Labour's frontbench was strained today as shadow ministers broke ranks with Jeremy Corbyn to blame Russian Federation for the Salisbury attack.

Asked which leader they would prefer to be in charge of the UK's relationship with Russian Federation, 69 per cent named Mrs May and 31 per cent Mr Corbyn.

But the Labour leader's article made the link explicitly.

The PM said: "This is not a question of our diplomacy, of what diplomatic support we have around the world".

Asked directly whether Corbyn believed Russian Federation is responsible for the attack, he said: "I think clearly, as I said, it's important to follow the evidence and to be guided by the evidence".

What is deeply disturbing is that the Opposition leader again disassociated himself from Parliament's unequivocal condemnation and cross-party consensus that has emerged in recent days.

A number of high-profile Labour backbenchers then voiced their own disapproval with their party leader's comments.

Tory MPs responded by shouting to the Labour frontbench: "That's how you do it".

She condemned them as "shocking" and "outrageous" and suggested Labour MPs who supported her approach would condemn them too.

Further criticism came from the DUP's Sammy Wilson.

"They stand full square behind the government in the analysis that we have shown and the action that we have taken".

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"When the moment comes to take a stand against, I'm afraid to say, a malign power like Russian Federation, you don't want the Leader of the Opposition popping up and questioning the Government's evidence".

Theresa May and the Tories labeled the Kremlin as "culpable" over the poisoning over ex-double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, claiming it was "likely" the alleged attack had been ordered by Moscow. History of information from United Kingdom intelligence agencies was "problematic", he said.

"In the meantime I think it is essential we follow the evidence and what the evidence produces", he added.

He said that Russian Federation was "directly or indirectly responsible" for the attack but "culpability takes many forms".

Meanwhile, senior Labour politicians, including the shadow defence secretary, Nia Griffith, have publicly questioned the comparison drawn by Corbyn's spokesman between the intelligence in the Salisbury case and the "dodgy dossier" that helped make the case for the Iraq war.

"There are strict protocols that must be followed now, but we can not accept any kind of outrage of this kind on United Kingdom soil".

Labour MP Anna Turley tweeted: "I'm afraid Seumas doesn't speak for my Labour or British values", while Chuka Umunna said: "Mr Milne's comments do not represent the views of the majority of our voters, members or MPs".

A Sky Data poll found 57 per cent of people thought Mr Corbyn is doing a bad job over his approach to Russian Federation, with just 18 per cent saying he is doing a good job. "What more evidence does he require?"

Another MP said they were horrified by Corbyn's comments, and others said privately that they could not back him ever becoming prime minister. She said: 'I think from the remarks made by backbenchers from the Labour Party they will be equally concerned'.

Is Labour heading for a painful and bitter split?

An image of the Early Day Motion revealed Mr Woodcock had already attracted the support of 15 other MPs.

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