Jeremy Corbyn praises 'open debate' amid Labour discord over foreign policy


Jeremy Corbyn has insisted that Labour is not a "divided party" despite major differences with his party's MPs on the nuclear deterrent and military action in Syria.

The Labour leader stressed the size of the mandate he had been given to oppose Trident renewal even though "more than some" of his MPs disagreed.

Mr Corbyn also repeated his view that a political solution was needed in Syria because "you don't solve every problem necessarily by going in and bombing".

The Labour Party conference in Brighton will debate an emergency motion later opposing extending the UK's military campaign against Islamic State militants into Syria without explicit authorisation by the UN.

Mr Corbyn, who made his opposition to Trident renewal one of the key points of his first leader's speech at the conference, told ITV's Good Morning Britain: "It's not a divided party. I received 60% of the votes of all party members and supporters, it's the biggest mandate any leader has ever been given in the Labour Party and I respect that mandate and I respect the people that voted for me.

"Yes, there are some Labour MPs - maybe more than some - who do not agree with me on my belief that we should not be renewing our nuclear fleet, the Trident system.

"We should instead be investing that money in high technology engineering and protecting jobs. But we should also be fulfilling our obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty to take steps towards disarmament.

"That is a debate the party will be having and a debate where I put my points of view forward. There is nothing dishonest in having this open debate."

Ahead of the debate on Syria, Mr Corbyn acknowledged that action against Islamic State - also known as Isil - was another issue where there was a split with his MPs.

"There are people in the party who have different views, but what we are all united on is that Isil's behaviour, its actions and its brutality are totally appalling," he said.

"There has to be an end to the fighting. There also has to be a cutting off of the funds and the arms that Isil are using, there has to be a ceasefire amongst the other forces within Syria.

"Maybe some progress has been made on that. You don't solve every problem necessarily by going in and bombing. Basically all wars have to end with a political solution."

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