Keir Starmer will reinforce Labour’s support for Trident nuclear weapons on Friday when the party sets out its core principles on defence including membership of NATO and keeping the UK nuclear deterrent.
John Healey MP, Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary, will underline Labour’s commitment to the nuclear deterrent which is a divisive issue in Scotland where the Trident submarines are based on the Clyde.
The SNP is opposed to nuclear weapons for an independent Scotland but is committed to being in the Nato nuclear umbrella.
In a speech to the Royal United Service Institute, Healey will attempt to move on from Jeremy Corbyn’s outspoken reluctance to back the nuclear deterrent which was seen as one of the reasons Labour was viewed by many voters as being “unpatriotic” in the 2019 election.
Healey will say Labour’s commitment to NATO is “unshakeable”.
He will add: “Labour’s support for the UK’s nuclear deterrent is non-negotiable and we want to see Britain doing more to lead efforts to secure multilateral disarmament.”
Healey will also signal Labour’s determination to see defence investment directed first to British industry.
He will add: “We are the party of sovereign defence capability: we see the steel industry, the shipyards, and aerospace and materials industries as a national asset. We want to see a clear plan from Government to enhance these capabilities. We want to see, for the good of our country, as much as possible of our equipment designed and built here.”
The GMB union, which represents defence workers and is a key Labour backer, welcomed the commitment to the nuclear deterrent and protecting defence industry jobs.
Ross Murdoch, GMB National Officer has said: “GMB supports our members who do the skilled and valuable work that maintains Trident, the communities that are sustained by Trident and support its renewal. It’s common sense that we build on the skills, jobs, apprenticeships and prosperity at home.”