Kate Osamor 'shoots the messenger' after interview causes controversy
The senior Labour MP suggested that her own words did not actually represent her views.
How to save your shadow cabinet job after you’ve been caught deviating from the official Labour line on the big issue of the day?
That was the challenge faced last night by shadow international development secretary Kate Osamor after she was accurately quoted by The House magazine saying that "intervention must take place" if the UN concludes the Syrian government was behind the suspected chemical weapons attack which killed dozens of civilians last week.
"If a leader is killing their own they need to be removed. We don’t keep them there. They need to go. He needs to be removed," she added during a lengthy interview, apparently freewheeling on the subject.
For good measure, Osamor also suggested that her own leader might want to speak a bit less about foreign policy issues to avoid getting hammered by the media: "He should just let his spokesperson speak because it seems that whatever he says is not good enough - it’s too strong or it’s not strong enough."
Then at 11pm on Thursday night - three hours after the embargo on the comments - the Labour front bencher then published a curious “clarification” of her comments on Twitter.
“The quotes picked up in tonight’s media have been used selectively from a long and wide-ranging interview and simply don’t represent my views,” she said. “I agreed to the interview on the basis that it was to talk only about next week’s Commonwealth Summit. But none of that excuses that I should have been clearer and more careful in the language I used.”
While many supporters of Jeremy Corbyn got behind Osamor in her battle with the dreaded MSM, PoliticsHome editor Kevin Schofield was unimpressed this morning. The journalist, who is also a senior editor on The House, wrote that:
“Osamor said a lot of things which she should not have done and, when they were published, reached for the time-honoured tactic of shooting the messenger. She isn’t the first politician to do so and you can bet your backside she won’t be the last.”