A Conservative MP has deleted a tweet making unsubstantiated claims about Jeremy Corbyn’s links to “communist spies” after the Labour leader threatened to sue him.
Ben Bradley, a Conservative Party Vice Chair, had tweeted that Corbyn had “sold British secrets” to foreign agents following a series of tabloid allegations about meetings the Labour leader and other MPs attended in the 1980s.
But a spokesperson for Corbyn said on Monday: “Jeremy has instructed solicitors to contact [Tory MP] Ben Bradley to delete his libellous tweet or face legal action.”
The tweet has since been deleted, but was captured by Corbyn supporter Owen Jones - who urged the Labour MP to take legal action.
The party’s youth spokesman posted: “Corbyn sold British secrets to communist spies... get some perspective mate!! Your priorities are a bit awry!”
A Labour source also raised the issue of a similar tweet written by Tory minister, Ben Wallace, who likened the Labour leader to Soviet double agent, Kim Philby.
The source told HuffPost UK that Wallace’s tweet was particularly damaging as he was a serving minister, and that he should follow Bradley’s lead and delete his tweet too.
Bradley, the MP for Mansfield, gained notoriety after he suggested unemployed people should have vasectomies to cut costs to the taxpayer.
Ben Bradley - who is tasked with building the Conservatives’ youth vote - made the comments in a blog post in 2012.
Jan Sarkocy, a former Czech spy, has claimed the Labour leader was on his payroll during the Cold War.
Corbyn has strongly denied the accusation reported in the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph.
“These claims are a ridiculous smear and entirely false,” his office has said.
“The former Czechoslovak agent Jan Sarkocy’s account of his meetings with Jeremy was false 30 years ago, is false now and has no credibility whatsoever.”
Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary, said the report in The Sun that Corbyn had met the Czech agent three times during the Cold War was a “betrayal” and showed the Labour leader “cannot be trusted”.
John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, has also dismissed stories as “ludicrous Tory lies” and “ridiculous and false allegations”.