JEREMY Corbyn tried to allay union leaders’ fears over the impact of scrapping Britain’s nuclear deterrent on defence jobs today by suggesting new submarines could be built but not carry nuclear warheads.
The Labour leader hinted that he could be open to building the next generation of submarines needed to carry Trident missiles despite his opposition to nuclear weapons.
The four submarines which carry Britain’s Trident nuclear submarines are approaching the end of their lifespan with replacements estimated to cost £31 billion.
GMB general secretary Sir Paul Kenny last week warned the failure to commit to the renewal of Trident would put thousands of British defence jobs at risk.
Asked on The Andrew Marr Show about the row engulfing Labour over its position on Trident submarines, Mr Corbyn said: “They don’t have to have nuclear warheads on them. There are options there.”
But Mr Corbyn’s determination to scrap Britain’s nuclear deterrent is opposed by large numbers of his own party and the idea of having the submarines without the missiles was criticised by the Labour MP for Barrow where the boats are built.
John Woodcock said: ““Having a deterrent that has no capacity to deter is like having an army with broken rifles and no ammunition.”
Mr Corbyn also attracted criticism for suggesting that the UK needed to find an “accommodation” with Argentina in the longrunning dispute over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.
He also confirmed a future Labour government would amend the legislation governing trade unions to allowworkers not directly involved in a dispute to take part in so-called “sympathy strikes”.