The Labour leader said it would be wrong to “roll out the red carpet” for the US President, whom he accused of using “racist and misogynist rhetoric”, adding the US-UK relationship did not need “the pomp and ceremony” of June’s state visit. Yet his apparent willingness to boycott the meeting has been described as hypocritical by his political opponents, considering Mr Corbyn has already met with a whole host of controversial figures. But Mr Corbyn is not alone in refusing to dine with Mr Trump, with Speaker John Bercow, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable and SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford also snubbing the Queen’s invitation.
The Labour leader was accused of “staggering” hypocrisy on Thursday after snubbing the Queen’s invitation to a state banquet with Mr Trump.
Mr Corbyn faces a huge backlash from Tory MPs who said his “pathetic gesture” made him “unfit to be Prime Minister”.
LBC host and political commentator Iain Dale posted a scathing Tweet after hearing of Mr Corbyn’s and Mr Bercow’s planned boycott.
He wrote: “So you’re the leader of a political party or a Speaker of the House of Commons who accepts an invitation from HM The Queen to a state banquet with China in 2015, but refuses to go to one with the head of state of our closest economic and military ally. This tells us a lot.”
But Mr Dale isn’t the only one to pick up on the Labour leader’s apparent hypocrisy, with other politicians citing his previous meetings with controversial figures.
Tom Tugendhat, Tory chairman of the Commons foreign affairs committee, also mentioned Mr Corbyn’s 2015 attendance at a state banquet with China’s President Xi Jinping, who had been accused of human rights abuses.
He said: “Given the people he has broken bread with… I think it’s a level of hypocrisy that is really quite staggering.”
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith pointed out Mr Corbyn’s friendship with Venezuelan dictator Nicholas Maduro – the hardline President who has been accused of a violent crackdown on opponents which has led to hundreds of deaths.
Other controversial meetings of the Labour leader include a 2009 meeting with President Assad in Syria, a “takeaway dinner” with ex-Hamas chief Khaled Mahal, and a willingness to meet the Lebanese group Hesbollah, who are classified by the US Government as a terror organisation.
Mr Corbyn has also had close ties to the IRA, meeting with Gerry Adams on occasion and even inviting two convicted IRA terrorists to Westminster just 12 days after the 1984 Brighton bombing – an attempt to assassinate Margaret Thatcher that resulted in the deaths of five people.
Despite the attack on the Labour leader’s opposition to Mr Trump’s visit, Mr Corbyn has been a longtime critic of the US President and joined 100,000 protestors who flew a blimp of Mr Trump as a baby when he came to Britain last year.
But it is thought to be unprecedented for a leader of the Opposition to refuse to attend the formal dinner with the head of state of the UK’s closest international ally.