UK's Nuclear Deterrent

Part of Terrorist Attack: Nice – in the House of Commons at 8:12 pm on 18th July 2016.

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Photo of Jamie Reed Jamie Reed Labour, Copeland 8:12 pm, 18th July 2016

That is a matter for my friends in the Scottish Parliament.

It is the policy of the Labour party to retain and renew our nuclear deterrent. As a Labour Member of Parliament, steeped in my party’s traditions, proud of its achievements, and excited by its possibilities, I will support my party’s policy tonight. But for the first time ever, we have witnessed the leader of the Labour party stand at the Dispatch Box and argue against the policy of the party that he leads. That is unprecedented. Moreover, this reckless, juvenile, narcissistic irresponsibility makes me fearful for the future of the party that I love. The sheer stupidity of this approach should be dragged out into the light and seen for what it is, because renewal is not only Labour party policy but the settled will of the country, and every parliamentary decision relating to it will have been taken by 2020.

Further to that, Lord Kinnock has repeatedly warned—and it looks as though he will have to say this to the Labour party for the second time in my lifetime—that

“the British people will not vote for unilateral disarmament. And that reality has to be dealt with.”

A policy of unilateral nuclear disarmament is a bar to being elected. A democratic socialist party with this policy can campaign to rid this country of poverty, to restore the national health service, to rebuild our economy, and to make sure that every man, woman and child in every community in our country enjoys equality of opportunity—but campaigning is all that it will ever do, because a policy of unilateral nuclear disarmament will ensure that we will never govern. This logic is inescapable, and the leader of the Labour party knows it.