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Monday, January 11, 2016

Will change in policy on Trident plunge Labour into more chaos?

With the Labour Party still reeling from the in-fighting and arguments caused by Jeremy Corbyn's reshuffle, the last thing they need is another row. And yet the leadership are spoiling for a fight.

The Independent reports that three members of Jeremy Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet have refused to rule out resigning if the party changes its policy on retaining Britain’s nuclear weapon capability.

They say that Jeremy Corbyn intends to use a party review of its policy on nuclear weapons to push for a change in position ahead of a vote on renewing Trident that is expected to take place in the House of Commons this year.

The Trident supporters, Owen Smith, the shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Lord Falconer, the shadow Justice Secretary, and Lucy Powell, the shadow Education Secretary, have refused to confirm whether they would remain in their posts if the party’s policy shifted.

Owen Smith, who has publicly expressed a clear ambition to succeed Corbyn said remaining after a change of policy would be problematic “That would be difficult for me,” Mr Smith told BBC 5 Live. “I think the key thing that I would do is stick in, in the run-up to that decision, and make the case.

“We have got to have, I think, a very adult argument in the Labour Party about this – not in public I hope, not in the way in which we have occasionally argued publicly recently – but it is an enormously serious, technical, strategic question for Britain as to what the nature of our nuclear weapons are and whether we have a nuclear deterrent.

“My view is that unfortunately we do need one.”

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats have hit out at Labour for fighting amongst themselves and letting the Government off the hook when they should be doing their job as the official opposition of holding Ministers to account:

"Unlike Labour we don't blame the media for this circus. We place the blame firmly at the feet of the so called Official Opposition. The political lobby, have reported a political story - the implosion of Labour.

"There are many, many more stories that would have led all the papers on an average week - from attacking the Tories over being able to campaign for Brexit, to their shamefully muted response over the 47 people killed by the Saudi Arabian government and North Korea, allegedly, letting off a Hydrogen bomb.

"Most days these stories would have run and run. Sadly Labour got themselves into a spot where the Culture Spokesman being sacked is more important."

The Liberal Democrats list of things Labour should be talking about instead includes:
The current disarray within Labour has been compared to the infighting in the 1980s but it is worse than that because this time it is being caused by the leadership who, instead of trying to steady the ship are rocking it violently and taking their eye off the ball when it comes to doing their job of scrutinising the Government.
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