Piers Morgan showdown with Jeremy Corbyn on Hamas goes viral

Talk show host asked ex-Labour leader to call group ‘terrorists’ 15 times

Piers Morgan, left, and Jeremy Corbyn clashed over Hamas during a TV interview. PA / Getty Images
Powered by automated translation

Live updates: Follow the latest news on Israel-Gaza

Piers Morgan and Jeremy Corbyn had a fiery exchange over the former leader of the Labour Party's stance on Hamas.

The former Labour leader was challenged over whether Hamas should retain power in Gaza.

In echoes of Jeremy Paxman's Michael Howard interview in 1997, when the Newsnight host asked conservative politician the same question 12 times, Morgan questioned Mr Corbyn relentlessly on the status of the militant group.

Although he said he did "not approve, support or welcome Hamas", Mr Corbyn refused to call the organisation a terrorist group 15 times during an episode of the Piers Morgan Uncensored show, which was broadcast this week.

“Are they a terror group?” Morgan asked.

“Everybody knows what they are,” the MP said.

“Are they a terror group? Can you say it? Can you call them a terror group?”

“Is it possible to have a rational discussion with you?” said Mr Corbyn, who has addressed pro-Palestinian rallies in London during the war in Gaza.

The two continued to argue, with Mr Corbyn becoming increasingly irate.

The exchange ended when Morgan asked his other guest Len McCluskey, former general secretary of Unite the Union, whether he thinks Hamas is a terrorist group.

“Of course,” he replied.

The clip was shared on Piers Morgan Uncensored's X page, where it has been viewed 4.8 million times and attracted more than 5,800 comments.

In 2009 Mr Corbyn described both Hezbollah and Hamas as “friends”. He has previously said he regretted that comment.

Hamas was designated a terrorist group “in its entirety” by Britain in November 2021 and proscribed, meaning that anyone who invites support for the group can be sentenced to up to 14 years in jail.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has raised Mr Corbyn’s previous support of the group during exchanges in parliament, criticising him during an exchange last month.

Mr Sunak said Hamas had “perpetrated an absolutely appalling act of terrorism on over 1,000 people” in response to calls from Mr Corbyn, who is now an independent MP, for a ceasefire.

The Prime Minister added: “Our regional diplomatic engagement has extensively been focused about how we can bring about a better, brighter future for the people of Palestine and the Palestinians.

“But I would say to him, I am surprised he hasn’t made any reference to the fact that an organisation that he once described as a ‘friend’ has perpetrated an absolutely appalling act of terrorism on over 1,000 people.”

Since succeeding Jeremy Corbyn in 2020, Labour leader Keir Starmer has worked to improve the party’s image after an anti-Semitism scandal.

He was also quick to condemn Hamas’s attack on Israel, saying in parliament: “We stand with Israel and her right to defend herself against the terrorists of Hamas.”

Updated: November 14, 2023, 11:21 AM