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Labour's internal feud over Trident

On 20 January the House of Commons voted on an SNP motion which called for the plan to renew Trident to be cancelled. Only 19 Labour MPs supported the proposal. One of them was Jeremy Corbyn. This gives an insight into the current situation in the Labour Party. While the new leader is genuinely committed to nuclear disarmament, only a minority of his MPs share this view. This contrast was highlighted on 29 September at the party conference in Brighton.  Delegates passed a report from the Labour Policy Forum which included a paragraph which reaffirmed their commitment to renewing Trident. A short time later Jeremy Corbyn gave his leader’s speech in which he restated his opposition to British nuclear weapons.  The following morning he told the Radio 4 Today programme that he would never press the nuclear button if he were Prime Minister.

 Scottish CND wish Jeremy Corbyn the best of luck in his attempt to change Labour party policy, but he faces a long and difficult challenge. The renewal of Trident is likely to be decided by the House of Commons before the Labour party holds its next conference in a year’s time.  If Labour MPs are allowed a free vote then only a minority are expected to join with the SNP and Green party in voting against renewal.  There has been speculation that the Scottish Labour Party might debate Trident at their Perth conference at the end of October. However at this stage it looks as if they will probably follow the example of the UK conference in Brighton and duck the issue. In the elections for the Scottish Parliament in May 2016 the SNP, Scottish Green Party and a number of smaller parties will stand on a clear platform of opposition to Trident.


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