Clive Lewis forced by Jeremy Corbyn to ditch pledge not to change Labour's pro-Trident policy

Posted On: 
26th September 2016

Clive Lewis was forced to ditch a pledge not to overturn Labour's policy backing the renewal of Britain's Trident nuclear submarines, PoliticsHome has learned.

Jeremy Corbyn is opposed to the renewal of Trident
Credit: 
PA Images

The Shadow Defence Secretary told Labour's conference he was "clear that our Party has a policy for Trident renewal".

However, he had been due to add: "And I wouldn't seek to change it."

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That line was cut from his speech at the last minute - amid claims that Jeremy Corbyn's chief spin doctor Seumas Milne applied pressure on him to ditch it.

A spokesman for Mr Corbyn said: "All speeches are put together in conjunction with the leader's office."

The Labour leader is a long-standing supporter of unilateral nuclear disarmament and voted against renewing Trident in the Commons in July.

He also made clear he would not authorise the use of nuclear weapons if he was Prime Minister.

Mr Corbyn said: "I would not take a decision that would kill millions of innocent people. I don't believe the threat of mass murder is a legitimate way of going about international relations."

Significantly, Mr Lewis abstained in the Commons vote.

In his speech today, he said he was "sceptical" about Trident renewal, though he emphasised that the party's policy is clear at present.

"But I also want to be clear that our party’s policy is also that we all share the ambition of a nuclear-free world," he added.

"So we will take steps to make that ambition a reality. So we will make our long-standing multilateralism reality, not rhetoric."