Labour defence secretary: Party will remain committed to Trident renewal


Key Corbyn ally marks move away from unilateral disarmament position

LABOUR’S shadow minister for defence has told the party’s UK Conference that the party is will retain its policy of Trident renewal.

Speaking at the conference in Liverpool, which saw leftist and anti-Trident leader Jeremy Corbyn re-elected with an increased majority of 62 per cent, ally and former soldier Clive Lewis said that a strategy of opposing Trident Renewal would be replaced by renewed efforts towards multilateral disarmament, with a future Labour government leading the world on disarmament talks.

He said: “I am clear that our party has a policy for Trident renewal.

“We will make our longstanding multilateralism reality, not rhetoric.

“We will be working with international organisations, including the UN general assembly first committee on disarmament and international security, within the spirit and the letter of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.”

Explainer: How can Trident be disarmed?

Jeremy Corbyn spoke against Trident renewal in the Westminster Parliament in June, before the House of Commons voted for Trident renewal by a majority of 472 to 117.

Lewis’s statement’s come as a blow to campaigners hoping for Corbyn’s leadership of the party meaning a shift to a unilateral disarmament position.

Kate Hudson, CND general secretary, said: “Clive Lewis has stated this morning that Labour will now prioritise support for multilateral disarmament initiatives. All well and good but what use is that if Labour fails to oppose Trident replacement? How can Labour claim to work for multilateral disarmament if it supports the government building a new nuclear weapons system at a cost of £205bn? This means Labour is supporting nuclear rearmament.”

In further concessions to the militarist wing of the party, Lewis also commited to spending 2 per cent of GDP on the military and standing full-square behind NATO operations. 

The announcement comes at a time when Nato expansion into Eastern Europe is raising tensions between the US and it’s western European Nato allies and Russia.

Corbyn, in contrast, has long advocated reduced military spending and is critical of NATO membership.

In 2015, Scottish Labour adopted an anti-renewal position. The only party with major Westminster representation to hold a firm unilateralist line is the SNP.

Picture courtesy of Defence Images

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