LONDON, United Kingdom – The leader of the UK's main opposition party, Jeremy Corbyn, has outraged his own party by joking about nuclear weapons being unable to protect America on 9/11. The Labour Party boss made the comments as he admitted that if he is elected Prime Minister at the next general election he would never use nukes anyway.
He said: "Nuclear weapons are weapons of mass destruction that take out millions of civilians. They didn't do the USA much good on 9/11." The comments were part of his ongoing campaign to get the United Kingdom to end its role as a nuclear power, which has sparked a major debate within his party. His own choice to be Defense Secretary if he wins the election described the comments as unhelpful.
Maria Eagle said: "I think it undermines, to some degree, our attempts to get a policy process going. As far as I'm concerned we start from the policy we have… I don't think that, a potential leader answering a question like that, in the way which he did, is helpful."
The existing policy was determined by the last Labour Leader, Ed Miliband, who was in favor of Britain continuing to have a nuclear deterrent. Unlike Mr Corbyn, who has been involved in the left-wing Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) for years, most British people believe the nuclear weapons are vital to British security.
Responding to the fiasco the current Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “The Labour leader is effectively saying he would lower Britain’s defenses. Deterrents don’t work if you’re not prepared to use them.
“Having nuclear weapons and our enemies knowing that we’re prepared to use them in the most extreme circumstances of self-defense is vital to keeping our country safe.”
Britain currently has four Vanguard Class submarines with nuclear warheads, at all times at least one of them is at sea. This forms the basis of the British “permanently at sea” deterrent, which enables the country to hit back even if conventional forces have been completely wiped out. The idea behind the system is to make the UK uninvadable.
Not everyone was angered by Corbyn's desire to see Britain's nukes go, the Scottish National Party (SNP) have long supported his CND position. The SNPs Deputy Leader Stewart Hosie said: “Labour’s position on Trident has become utterly indefensible. After days of chaos and infighting, Jeremy Corbyn must use his trip to Scotland to make clear whether he is leading Labour - or whether Labour is leading him.”
“Jeremy Corbyn needs to be straight with the people of Scotland - will Labour oppose trident nuclear weapons on our shores, or simply allow the Conservatives to go ahead with this outdated and unwanted project.
Had Scotland become independent the SNP would have closed the Royal Navy's nuclear base in Western Scotland. This would have caused chaos and may even have seen the submarines based at an American or French base, the cost of relocating elsewhere in the UK could have run into hundreds of billions of dollars.