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Media captionFour soldiers appear to fire shots in a video posted on social media
A video appearing to show soldiers firing shots at a Jeremy Corbyn poster for target practice, showed a serious error of judgment, an Army chief says.
Brigadier Nick Perry said the Army was taking the matter “extremely seriously” and would fully investigate.
“The video shows totally unacceptable behaviour that falls far below the behaviour that we expect,” he said.
Labour called the behaviour alarming but said it has confidence in the Ministry of Defence to investigate.
In the short clip, four paratroopers in uniform appear to use a large portrait of the Labour leader for target practice.
Brig Perry, commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade, said there were currently 400 soldiers from his brigade working with Nato and Afghan partners in Afghanistan, where the footage is thought to have been filmed.
He said they were doing an “outstanding job in theatre” but this incident would be fully investigated.
He stressed the Army was and always would be an apolitical organisation.
The prime minister’s official spokesperson said Theresa May was aware of the video but had not watched it, and had called it “clearly unacceptable”.
Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, a former lieutenant colonel who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, said the video was “disgraceful”.
Rory Stewart, Conservative minister for prisons, told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire that it was “completely wrong” and the soldiers’ behaviour was “outrageous”.
“They should not be political – they are there to defend the country and the Queen,” he said.
‘This is completely wrong – our soldiers should not be political’@RoryStewartUK on footage which appears to show soldiers firing shots at a picture of Jeremy Corbyn.https://t.co/isNrWdXe83 pic.twitter.com/ohqN9FzUKh
— Victoria Derbyshire (@VictoriaLIVE) April 3, 2019
The emergence of the video comes at a time of heightened alarm about the safety of MPs as tensions rise over Brexit.
Labour MP Jess Phillips tweeted: “This is absolutely hideous and irresponsible under this or any climate.”
And Angela Rayner, Labour’s shadow education secretary, said she hoped the investigation would be conducted “thoroughly and the conclusions made public”.
It is not known when the footage was filmed.
It is believed the clip first circulated on Snapchat before being posted on Twitter.