Jeremy Corbyn faces backlash after snubbing key First World War commemoration because he is on HOLIDAY

  • Labour leader has been invited to Battle of Jutland ceremony alongside David Cameron and Royals
  • Naval battle in 1916 credited with winning the war for Britain despite heavy casualties
  • But Corbyn is believed to have turned down the invitation because he is going on holiday during the parliamentary recess
  • Shadow defence secretary Emily Thornberry is due to attend
  • Labour former defence minister says decision will cause 'huge' offence 

Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of being a 'part-timer' after it emerged he is set to miss the Battle of Jutland commemoration next week.

The Labour leader was invited to attend a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the key First World War clash alongside David Cameron and members of the Royal Family.

But Mr Corbyn has apparently snubbed the invite as he is on holiday during the parliamentary recess.

Shadow defence secretary Emily Thornberry is due to go.

Jeremy Corbyn on the EU referendum campaign trail with former Labour leader Ed Miliband today

Jeremy Corbyn on the EU referendum campaign trail with former Labour leader Ed Miliband today

Labour MP Kevan Jones, a former defence minister, told MailOnline the decision would cause 'huge offence'. 

'He has got to realise that Leader of the Opposition is not a part time job,' Mr Jones said. 'This will cause huge offence to many voters and refinforces the notion that Labour is not interested in security or defence issues.' 

More than 8,500 British and German seamen died off the coast of Denmark in the 36-hour Battle of Jutland which began on May 31, 1916 and changed the course of the war.

Dignitaries will join descendants of those who fought in the battle for a service at St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall on Orkney Tuesday.

The location has been chosen because the British Grand Fleet was launched from Scapa Flow to tackle German forces attempting to break a British blockade.

Both sides claimed victory as the Germans lost 11 ships and Britain 14, but the enemy's naval fleet was seriously weakened and did not pose a significant challenge again during the conflict.


Jutland has been described as the 'battle that won the war', but it came at the cost of thousands of lives.

Over 36 hours between May 31 and June 1 1916, the British fleet lost 6,094 seamen and the Germans 2,551 in the defining naval meeting of the First World War.

After two years of war, historians say both sides planned to lure the other into a trap in the North Sea, with the British wanting another Trafalgar-style victory while Germany was desperate to end its rival's maritime domination.

In the aftermath, both nations claimed victory - Germany because of the casualty count and Britain because the Royal Navy's Grand Fleet maintained the numerical advantage.

Fought off Denmark's Jutland peninsula, around 250 ships were involved on both sides, creating a scale of battle that has not been seen since.

The high number of deaths has partly been put down to the unexpected sinking of large battleships such as HMS Invincible, HMS Ardent and SMS Pommern which were designed to take heavy hits.

The sailors killed were heralded at the time as gallant comrades who died gloriously in battle, but some historians believe many lost their lives due to 'careless mistakes'.

Dr Novotny said: 'There's about 6,000 from the British fleet that are killed, the German fleet lost about 2,500.

'The casualties on the British side are definitely a lot higher - the British fleet was much larger with about 150 ships versus 99 on the German side. The Germans were going to be out gunned.' 

German President Joachim Gauck will join the Duke of Edinburgh and the Princess Royal at the service, which will be followed by a second memorial at Lyness Cemetery on Hoy - the final resting place for more than 450 service personnel who died in the war, including sailors killed at Jutland.

The Government said the commemorations will remember those who lost their lives while also paying tribute to the role of the Royal Navy and the Orkney Islands in the 1914-18 conflict.

St Magnus Cathedral is currently host to thousands of ceramic poppies, first seen at the Tower of London, as part of the Jutland commemorations.

Orkney Islands Council vice-convener Jim Foubister said: 'We are proud to be hosting the UK's national commemoration of the Battle of Jutland.

'On Tuesday we will remember the huge importance of Jutland to the outcome of the First World War, and the enormous number of lives lost during the course of the battle.

'The cemetery at Lyness stands close to the waters of Scapa Flow, from where the British Grand Fleet set out for the Jutland Bank.

'It is fitting that the Jutland commemorations will draw to a close among the graves of some of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their countries a century ago.'

Ceremonies remembering the battle are also being held in Rosyth and South Queensferry on Saturday, ahead of the anniversary.

The Battlecruiser force sailed from the Firth of Forth, and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is among those expected to pay their respects during a wreath-laying service at Rosyth Parish Church.

A further memorial will take place across the Forth at a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery where 40 casualties from the battle are commemorated or buried.

The British lost 6,094 seamen at Jutland and German losses numbered 2,551.

Less than a week later, on June 5 1916, the British war effort suffered another major blow when HMS Hampshire sank with the loss of 737 lives after hitting a German mine west of Orkney.

Among the dead was Lord Kitchener, Britain's secretary of state for war who famously featured on a recruitment campaign poster.

Next Sunday, a commemorative service will be held at Marwick Head, above the waters where HMS Hampshire was sunk.

HMS Warrior during the Battle of Jutland in 1916, which is often credited as the turning point in the war 

HMS Warrior during the Battle of Jutland in 1916, which is often credited as the turning point in the war 

St Magnus Cathedral on the Orkney Islands where a service will be held to commemorate the Battle of Jutland next week 

St Magnus Cathedral on the Orkney Islands where a service will be held to commemorate the Battle of Jutland next week 

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