Jeremy Corbyn calls for end to Trident


Jeremy Corbyn has called for the end to the UK's "weapons of mass destruction" as the Labour Party as the Labour Party conference prepared to vote on the future of the nuclear deterrent.

The Labour leader acknowledged that he may be unable to persuade members of his shadow cabinet to oppose the renewal of the Trident weapons system and there may be a "difference of opinion" when the parliamentary vote takes place.

Shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn and shadow justice secretary Lord Falconer have both spoken out against abandoning the UK's nuclear capability and Mr Corbyn said "we are going to come to an accommodation of some sort".

Hinting that the Labour vote might not be whipped when Parliament decides, he told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show: "We are going to have to discuss it and debate it and come to a philosophical solution to it. But I understand colleagues' views.

"I hope to persuade them that a nuclear free world is a good thing, that fulfilling our obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and promoting a nuclear weapons convention is a good thing. They are all signed up to multilateral disarmament, by the way.

"There are many people, military thinkers, who are very concerned, indeed opposed, to Trident because they don't see it as part of modern security or defence. They don't see any situation in which Trident would become an option you would think about using.

"This is a weapon of mass destruction."

Mr Corbyn suggested it would not be "a disaster" if there were two different opinions within the party but added: "I will do my persuasive best to bring them around to my view."

With conference set to vote on Trident during the gathering in Brighton, probably on Wednesday, Mr Corbyn said he expected the motion would involve a "series of alternatives" rather than a straight choice on scrapping nuclear weapons.

Mr Corbyn also detailed plans to open up the party's policy-making process to the thousands of new members, many of whom supported the radical left-wing platform on which he stood in the leadership election.

Asked whether "Trotskyists" thrown out during former leader Lord Neil Kinnock's reforms to the party would now be allowed back in, Mr Corbyn said: "Anyone is welcome to join the Labour Party, providing they support the principles of the party and be content with that.

"Thousands have joined the Labour Party in the last few weeks, 50,000 maybe 60,000 since I was elected two weeks ago, 150,000 since the general election.

"This is a growing, enthusiastic, optimistic party."

He said he was "not concerned in the slightest" if there were revolutionary left-wingers joining the party as he set a target of building Labour's membership to 500,000.

Islington North MP Mr Corbyn added: "Neil is one of my constituents, we get along fine."

Setting out his plans to involve members and local parties in the policy process, he said: "There's a whole lot of talent out there. I'm not sure that the political classes ... fully appreciate the disillusionment of so many people with traditional politics and their love and desire to be involved and have their voice heard. That's what I want to unlock."