Jeremy Corbyn condemns violence "on both sides" in Venezuela

After a week-long barrage of media attacks Jeremy Corbyn INCREASES Labour's poll lead over the Tories

JEREMY Corbyn has been criticised for condemning "violence on all sides" in Venezuela rather than the increasingly dictatorial socialist regime of President Nicolas Maduro.

The Labour leader said "dialogue and a process" was needed to improve the situation in the South American nation, which has descended into chaos after a disputed vote which gave Mr Maduro's ruling socialist party nearly unlimited powers.

But when the inevitable question came from a journalist, asking whether he condemned Mr Maduro's actions, the Labour leader failed to give an answer.

"All of those lives are awful for the loss of them".

"There has to be a dialogue and a process that respects the independence of the judiciary and respects the human rights of all".

Mr Corbyn has previously supported the left-wing governments of Venezuela but, while on holiday in Croatia, remained silent as Mr Maduro cracked down on his enemies following a widely disputed vote which gave his ruling party near unlimited powers.

He also backed a number of parliamentary motions linked to the country, including one which congratulated Mr Maduro on his election as president and called for closer ties with Venezuela.

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Asked whether he condemned Mr.

Pressed on whether he regretted supporting Mr.

But with the country in crisis, opposition leaders detained and more than 120 people dying during protests against the increasingly anti-democratic regime, Mr Corbyn has been under pressure to speak out against the leadership in Venezuela. He welcomed the backing for dialogue given by the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and suggested this could become a regional initiative. "There has to be respect for the constitution and respect for the independence of the judiciary", he added.

'The UK has repeatedly called on the Maduro government to work with the opposition, release political prisoners and show respect for democracy and human rights'.

"What has happened in the last four months in our country is that you have had the majority of Venezuelans protesting, demanding change, demanding free and fair elections and they have been received by the national guard and police with tear gas, with rubber bullets and sometimes too with regular bullets, with shotguns".

'We are clear that urgent action must be taken to stop the situation getting worse. Federica Mogherni, the European Union foreign policy chief, said the assembly's actions, and the removal of Luisa Ortega Días as attorney general, had "further weakened the prospects for a peaceful return to the democratic order".

The EU also stepped up its criticism of Maduro's government on Monday.

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