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Avoiding a Trident debate at Labour conference should allow full discussion

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Why the decision that the Labour Party Conference should not debate Trident is such a blow for Corbyn I cannot understand. It is one of those issues which is going to take time to debate and possibly reach a consensus.

If there had been a debate this week, it is unclear what it would have been about. It could have been about the UK abandoning nuclear weapons. That is how it has been framed in much of the media.

But it could also be about how or whether to replace the existing Trident systems. That is not the same as nuclear disarmament.

The existing Trident was designed during the Cold War with Russia, a part of the MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) deference strategy. The world and the UK’s strategic needs have changed since then but the proposed Trident replacement appears to be a more modern version of the old one.

A full and open debate in the whole county, not only the Labour Party, is needed before a decision is made. We should hear what military experts as well as politicians think. It may be that the conclusion is that the UK needs nuclear weapons but that a Trident replacement does not meet the country’s strategic needs in a much changed world.

Or it could be to continue patching up the existing Trident submarines and kick a replacement decision further into the future.

Corbyn is quite clear that his personal view is there should be full nuclear disarmament and many support that view. Referendum and parliamentary elections in Scotland has made it clear that that is not a fringe position. The SNP wants a Scotland with no nuclear weapons in its arsenal and none stationed there if it gains independence.

Let’s have a full and open debate before there is a vote at Westminster next year.

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