Jeremy Corbyn’s brother has denied accusations of antisemitism after he was dramatically arrested for sending out leaflets comparing the Covid-19 vaccine efforts to the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.
The coronavirus conspiracy theorist, 73, has been credited with the concept of the pamphlet which MPs and campaigners condemned as ‘beyond disgusting’ and ‘vile and dangerous’.
But Piers Corbyn, the former Labour leader’s older brother, defended himself by claiming that he was married to a Jew and had employed Jewish people, one of whom was ‘a superb worker’.
He told the Daily Mail that his arrest was ‘an absurd attack on rights of free expression.
Piers Corbyn, brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, arrives at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, London, In December, after being charged with breaking coronavirus restrictions
The pamphlet made by Piers Corbyn, labelled ‘beyond disgusting’, and ‘vile and dangerous’ by MPs and campaigners
‘Any suggestion that I’m antisemitic is absurd given I was married to a Jewish woman for 22 years.’
The leaflets also contained baseless claims, such as the conspiracy theory that some vaccines contain nanochips that will track recipients.
Mr Corbyn was arrested with Alex Heaton, 37, an artist who is credited with the drawing in the leaflet. They were bailed until a date in early March.
Scotland Yard said officers investigating reports of malicious material being circulated in south London had made two arrests.
The force added: ‘A 73-year-old man was arrested in Southwark on Wednesday, 3 February on suspicion of malicious communications and public nuisance.
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is pictured in March last year. Corbyn’s legal team are applying for disclosure of documents ahead of a possible legal challenge over his suspension
‘A 37-year-old man was arrested earlier the same day in Bow, east London, on suspicion of a public order offence.
‘Both men were taken to a south London police station. They have since been bailed to return on a date in early March.
‘The leaflet contained material that appeared to compare the Covid-19 vaccination programme with the Holocaust.’
Labour’s Neil Coyle, MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, reported the ‘sickening’ leaflets to police after they were distributed across London.
He said: ‘No one should be delivering antivax scaremongering crank nonsense.
‘No one should be spreading crackpot theories to people trying to avoid the spread of covid.
‘No one should get away with such horrific Holocaust imagery being distorted so wildly to fit their sick agenda.’