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SINN FEIN president Gerry Adams praised Britain’s Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as “outstanding” today and backed him to become prime minister at the next general election.
Mr Adams steps down next weekend after 50 years in politics — 34 years at the helm of the Irish republican party — when a special party conference will ratify his successor Mary Lou McDonald.
Mr Adams told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr show: “I would like to see Jeremy in that position [of prime minister] for the benefit of people in Britain, leaving Ireland out of it. I think Jeremy is an outstanding politician and I hope my endorsement of him is not used against him in the time ahead.
“He and [former Labour mayor of London] Ken Livingstone and others kept faith and they were the people who said, when others said no, ‘talk.’ They were the people who were open to conversation about how to deal with conflict and how to get conflict resolution processes.”
Mr Corbyn and shadow chancellor John McDonnell have been criticised over their meetings with Sinn Fein in Westminster during the 1990s before the Irish Republican Army ceasefire.
Mr Adams said former Labour prime minister Tony Blair, who shared credit for ending decades of violence, had enjoyed an “opportunity on a plate” in being able to co-sign the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. Mr Adams later urged him to learn from the “Irish experience” and not invade Iraq.
And Mr Adams said: “I would wish that no-one had been killed or injured in the course of the [Northern Irish] conflict.”
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