POLITICS

Jeremy Corbyn Pledges To 'Accommodate' Trident Disagreements, Says Submarines Don't Have To Carry Nukes

17/01/2016 09:02 GMT | Updated 17/01/2016 12:59 GMT

Jeremy Corbyn has said he will try to "accommodate" the different views within the Labour Party over the future of Trident nuclear weapons.

In an interview with The Independent on Sunday, the Labour leader acknowledged that while he was committed to getting rid of it, current party policy was to go ahead with the renewal of the submarine fleet which carries the Trident missiles.

While shadow defence secretary Emily Thornberry has launched a review of Labour's entire defence policy, he also accepted that there could be no change in the current position until the party conference in September, the Press Association reports.

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Jeremy Corbyn pledged to 'accommodate' opposing views on Trident

He also told Andrew Marr that the Trident submarines could serve without carrying the missiles.

He said: "There are options there. The paper that Emily Thornberry has put forward is a very interesting one, deserves a very good study of it and read of it.

"And I hope there will be a serious, mature response to what is a very serious and hopefully mature debate about the nature of security and insecurity.

"The nature of the way we protect ourselves against insecurity and we bring about a more secure world as a result.

In his Independent On Sunday interview, Corbyn said his personal views were "well known and not changing".

"I want to see us move to a nuclear-free world," he said. "My election has meant actually debating nuclear weapons – and debating the point in having them. If I wasn't elected, this debate wouldn't be happening."

"I recognise the party has an existing policy which is not the same as (mine). I will obviously try to accommodate opinion within the parliamentary party.

"I haven't formed in my mind exactly how we are going to do that yet, but I fully recognise there is a debate going on."

His comments came as the most senior shadow minister sacked in Mr Corbyn's New Year reshuffle described his proposals to abandon the deterrent as "barmy".

Michael Dugher, the former shadow culture secretary, condemned the party's defence review as an "unnecessary distraction" which would undermine its efforts to gain ground in the May elections.

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He also warned the Labour leader not to try to "short-cut" the party's policy-making procedures in order to get the result he wanted.

Speaking to Labour activists in Birmingham, Mr Dugher said they should be taking the political fight to the Conservatives, "not picking another fight with ourselves".

"The idea that we can afford to spend a single day from now to May talking to ourselves about a divisive issue like Trident rather than talking to the country about what this Tory government is doing is frankly barmy," he said.

"There are real dangers here for Labour. For nearly three decades Labour has been committed to multilateral disarmament.

"We tried unilateralism before. It ended in electoral disaster then. There is no evidence to suggest that it won't end in disaster again."