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What is Jeremy Corbyn’s nuclear weapons policy?

Jeremy Corbyn

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Jeremy Corbyn

Labour leader has been quizzed again on future of Trident


One-Minute Read

Monday, November 18, 2019 – 6:15am

Jeremy Corbyn’s position on nuclear weapons is back in the headlines after he refused to rule out scrapping Trident as part of a post-election deal with the Scottish National Party.

Asked on The Andrew Marr Show whether he would scrap Trident, the Labour leader said: “I think the SNP would actually agree with me… that the priority has to be giving realism to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, giving realism to the six-party talks in Korea, giving realism to the whole question of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.”

Pressed further on the matter, he replied: “Obviously if you went into non-proliferation treaty discussions then clearly every country’s nuclear weapons go into that equation.”

Corbyn is a longstanding supporter of nuclear disarmament. “Back in the day – pre-leadership – Corbyn was a high-profile opponent of the nuclear issue on both environmental and proliferation grounds,” says The Conversation.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme in 2015, he said: “I am opposed to the use of nuclear weapons. I am opposed to the holding of nuclear weapons. I want to see a nuclear-free world. I believe it is possible.”

He added that that with the Cold War over, it is harder to justify keeping nuclear weapons. “There are five declared nuclear weapon states in the world. There are three others that have nuclear weapons. That is eight countries out of 192.

“187 countries don’t feel the need to have a nuclear weapon to protect their security, why should those five need it themselves?”

In a debate in 2016 over the future of Trident, he said: “I do not believe the threat of mass murder is a legitimate way to deal with international relations.”

Some 140 Labour MPs supported Trident renewal in that vote, while Corbyn, shadow defence secretary Nia Griffiths and 45 other Labour MPs voted against it.

Asked during the 2017 general election campaign whether he would consider using a nuclear weapon if the country were under threat of a nuclear strike, he replied: “I would do everything I can to ensure that any threat is dealt with earlier on, by negotiations and by talks. The idea of anyone ever using a nuclear weapon anywhere in the world is utterly appalling and terrible.”

However, last week Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, suggested that a Corbyn government might make a collective decision on whether to deploy nuclear weapons.

Speaking to Channel 4 last week, a party spokesman said: “Jeremy Corbyn will do whatever is necessary to keep our country safe.”

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