Len McCluskey blasts Jeremy Corbyn over Trident

Posted On: 
23rd March 2016

Len McCluskey has hit out at Jeremy Corbyn's claim that alternative jobs could be found for defence workers if Trident is scrapped. 

Len McCluskey has hit out at Jeremy Corbyn's Trident policy

The Labour leader says the thousands of employees who would be affected could "diversify" into non-nuclear areas of the defence industry.

But in a pointed attack, Unite general secretary Mr McCluskey told a conference that he "won't take any lectures from anyone who throws the word diversification around".

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The union boss also warned Mr Corbyn, a staunch unilateralist, that "Unite will defend every last job of our members in the defence industry".

Labour is currently reviewing its defence policy, with Mr Corbyn pushing for its long-standing backing for Trident to be overturned.

But speaking to hundreds of Unite members employed in the defence industry at a conference in Preston, Mr McCluskey said: "Our clear message to politicians is that this union will never support any public policy which sees our members and their communities thrown on the scrapheap.

"The skills, productivity and ingenuity they possess are why they represent the best of British manufacturing capabilities, and the best of an industrial tradition that too many politicians have been too careless about for too long. 

"Up and down the country, communities depend on the defence industry for their prosperity, for jobs, for a future for young people, and for economic security. No trade union that I lead is ever going to allow any of that to be put at risk." 

Labour MP Michael Dugher told PoliticsHome: "The message from Unite the Union could not be more clear or more powerful in support of Trident and of the hundreds of thousands of workers in the defence industries.

"I hope that Jeremy Corbyn listens to Unite and sticks with current Labour party policy, as determined by the National Policy Forum and the Labour party conference that voted in favour of Trident after Jeremy became leader.

"Opening up a self-indulgent row on Trident is totally unnecessary, it puts jobs at risk, it puts us on the wrong side of the public again - and it is complete gift for the Tories".