6 Jan 2016

Shadow defence minister quits over Corbyn’s Trident policy

Kevan Jones resigns from the Labour frontbench in protest at the opposition of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn to renewing the UK’s Trident nuclear deterrent. Two other MPs have also quit.

Mr Jones, the MP for North Durham, said in his resignation letter: “The issue of the UK’s nuclear deterrent and how we progress the aim of nuclear disarmament has always been one that has divided opinion within the Labour Party.”

Mr Jones says he respects those, such as Mr Corbyn, who hold a unilateralist position, but adds “as you know from our discussions when you appointed me in this role, I do not agree with this view.

“I have been clear and consistent that I believe it is the right policy for the country to maintain a minimum credible nuclear deterrent, while working to advance global nuclear disarmament.”

Earlier Mr Jones’ former boss Maria Eagle was demoted from her role as shadow defence secretary to become shadow culture secretary – a role vacated by the sacking of Michael Dugher in Mr Corbyn’s first reshuffle.

Ms Eagle is known to support the renewal of the Trident programme, but her replacement as shadow defence secretary, Emily Thornberry, is in line with Mr Corbyn in opposing Trident renewal.

Mr Jones was the third Labour MP to quit.

Jonathan Reynolds resigned as shadow rail minister, saying he could not “in good conscience endorse the world view of the Stop the War Coalition” – a group closely linked to Mr Corbyn.

Fellow frontbencher Stephen Doughty quit on live television, telling the BBC’s Daily Politics programme that he was stepping down as shadow foreign affairs minister after Mr Corbyn’s office “told lies” about why Europe spokesman Pat McFadden had been sacked.

‘Infantilising’ terrorists

Mr McFadden has claimed his dismissal can be traced back to remarks he made in parliament on the 17 November 2015 in the wake of the Paris terror attacks.

Following a statement from Mr Cameron, Mr McFadden said: “Can I ask the Prime Minister to reject the view that sees terrorist acts as always being a response or a reaction to what we in the West do?

“Does he agree with me that such an approach risks infantilising the terrorists and treating them as children when the truth is they are adults entirely responsible for what they do.

“No one forces them to kill innocent people in Paris or Beirut and unless we are clear about that we will fail even to be able to understand the threat we face let alone confront it and ultimately overcome it.”