Jeremy Corbyn today refused to say if he would sanction a drone strike on the leader of so-called Islamic State if he became Prime Minister.
In an interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show this morning, the Labour leader said he would want to know what could “be achieved” by ordering a drone strike if the intelligence services located the whereabouts of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Corbyn, who voted against British planes taking part in bombing campaigns against IS in Syria in December 2015, told Marr he would be worried that such a strike could kill civilians, and he favoured a “political solution”.
The Labour leader – who has long campaigned against the UK’s independent nuclear deterrent – said he would make no “first use” of Britain’s nukes if he became Prime Minister, and would instruct the commanders of the nuclear submarines to “follow orders” in the event of a full scale war.
When asked what he would say to intelligence chiefs if they told him they knew of al-Baghdadi’s whereabouts, Mr Corbyn said: “What I would tell them is: ‘Give me the information you’ve got, tell me how accurate that is, tell me what you think can be achieved by this.’
“Can I take you back to the whole point? What is the objective here?
“Is the objective to start more strikes which may kill many innocent people, as has happened?
“Or is the objective to get a political solution in Syria?
“My whole point would be: does this help to get a political solution in Syria and approach it from that position.”
He added: “I think the leader of Isis not being around would be helpful. I’m no supporter or defender in any way whatsoever of Isis, I’m sure you would concede, but I would also argue that the bombing campaign has killed a large number of civilians, many of whom were virtually prisoners of Isis, so you’ve got to think about these things.”
Corbyn was quizzed on whether renewing the UK’s Trident nuclear weapon system would be in Labour’s election manifesto.
Renewal is currently Labour policy as it was agreed by delegates at the 2015 party conference.
“We haven’t completed work on the manifesto yet, as you’d expect. We’re less than 100 hours into this election campaign,” he said.
“We’re having that discussion within the Labour party and we will produce our manifesto early in May.”
The Islington North MP said his party would carry out a strategic defence review upon entering government.
When it came to dealing with the Syrian regime, Corbyn suggested an end to air strikes in the country would be one way to begin peace talks.
He said: “I want us to say: ‘Listen, let’s get people around the table quickly’, and a way of achieving that - suspend the strikes? Possibly.
“The point has to be to bring about a political solution.
“All wars end with a political solution, let’s go to that place as quickly as we can.”
On 5Live’s Pienaar’s Politics, Conservative chairman Patrick McLoughlin said the interview showed Corbyn was not fit to be Prime Minister.
He said: “He’s already said that he would not use the nuclear weapons that we have in this country, should that need ever come to be.
“Nobody wants those decisions to be taken, but to have a leader that knows the responsibility of leadership, I think is very important and I don’t think anybody challenges that Theresa May has provided strong leadership.”