Ex-M16 boss relieved Jeremy Corbyn is no longer Labour leader

·3-min read

A former head of MI6 has said he is “certainly pleased that Corbyn is gone”, as he welcomed Sir Keir Starmer’s election as Labour leader.

During the 2019 general election campaign, Sir Richard Dearlove – who led the secret service between 1999 and 2004 – said then party leader Jeremy Corbyn represented a “present danger to our country”.

Speaking to the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Sir Richard said: “I’m certainly pleased that Corbyn is gone.

“I think my strong personal views about Corbyn as a potential prime minister are well known and well understood.

Sir Richard Dearlove
Sir Richard Dearlove previously claimed Jeremy Corbyn represented a ‘present danger to our country’ (PA)

“It’s a relief that he’s no longer leader of the Labour Party.

“On Keir Starmer, he seems to me to be a Labour leader of the type that we would expect and personally I feel quite content and happy with the fact that he’s now leading the Labour Party.

“I may not support him politically but I don’t see a repetition of the sort of problems that we had with Jeremy Corbyn, in fact not at all.”

Meanwhile, Labour front-bencher Rachel Reeves told the same programme the party has joined a boycott of Facebook advertising over the social media giant’s alleged lack of action in tackling hate speech on its platform.

She said: “All MPs in the Labour Party use Facebook to get across our message.

“But what we’re not doing at the moment is advertising on Facebook.

“And that is in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter campaign but also in line with what many businesses are doing this month, which is to express our concerns about the failure of Facebook to take down some hateful material from their platform and take more responsibility for the lies and propaganda that are sometimes put out there on Facebook.

Rachel Reeves
Rachel Reeves said Facebook must take more action against hate speech (PA)

“Facebook needs to do more to take responsibility and this is just one way that businesses and the Labour Party and others can put pressure on Facebook to do the right things and take tougher action on hate crime and hate speech.”

Earlier, Ms Reeves said Labour does not support the European Court of Justice having a continued role in the UK at the end of the Brexit transition period.

Asked about the issue, she said: “I think the public is pretty astounded that after the promises that we heard from the Government at the general election last year, that there was an ‘oven-ready deal’, that they stood down the Yellowhammer preparations for no-deal, that here we are on July 12 without any progress in the talks.

“I’m very happy that the Government are continuing the negotiations.

“I think it is right to say that the European Court of Justice shouldn’t be able to oversee, but there must be compromise on both sides from the European Union and from the UK Government.”