In Brief

Did Corbyn meet a Communist spy during the Cold War?

Jan Dymic who’s described as a ‘smoothie’ is thought to have met the Labour leader several times

A Czech secret agent who allegedly met Jeremy Corbyn in the House of Commons during the Cold War was part of a spy ring expelled from Britain by Margaret Thatcher.

While Corbyn denies “knowingly” meeting the Communist agent in the 1980s, Czech secret police files “appear to show that Mr Corbyn was approached by Lieutenant Jan Dymic and hosted him in the House of Commons,” The Times says. 

The Sun describes Dymic as a “bit of a smoothie with James Bond good looks”. The Czech agent posed as a diplomat when he allegedly met Corbyn on several occasions in 1986.

“The Labour leader was apparently being used as a contact by Dymic in order to access information from MI5 and MI6,” the Daily Mail says, adding that the Czech spy was also trying to gather data about British industry and science, and information about America’s nuclear activity.

Dymic was one of several spies expelled by Thatcher’s government in 1989, three years after allegedly contacting Corbyn. During the 1980s, there was concern that Iron Curtain spies were targeting Labour MPs in order to uncover state secrets.

The Labour leader’s spokesman says that Corbyn met a Czechoslovakian diplomat in the 80s but didnt offer or have any privileged information, according to The Independent: “Like other MPs, Jeremy has met diplomats from many countries. In the 1980s he met a Czech diplomat, who did not go by the name of Jan Dymic, for a cup of tea in the House of Commons.”

The Times says that Corbyn’s denial that he “knowingly” met the Czech spy could have a simple explanation: “Given his activism at the time, he is unlikely to have regarded the formal diplomatic services of communist regimes in an adversarial light.”

Whatever the circumstances of the meeting, a Sun editorial says Corbyn has “questions to answer”, concluding “This man cannot be allowed the key to No. 10”.

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