UK's opposition Labour leader Corbyn says he is not a pacifist

Bruno Cirelli
Mag 17, 2017

He said he supported military action "as a genuine last resort" but accused recent British and US governments of "bomb first, talk later" policies.

Referring to the widely publishing photograph of Trump holding May's hand in the White House during her visit in January, Corbyn said: "Britain deserves better than simply outsourcing our country's security and prosperity to the whims of the Trump White House".

"A Labour Government will conduct a robust and independent foreign policy - made in Britain", he said.

He also hit back at political opponents who have seized on his reluctance to pledge to authorise the use of a nuclear bomb.

"A Labour government will respect global law and oppose lawlessness and unilateralism in worldwide relations", he added.

Mr Corbyn said that in office, Labour would work to halt the "drift to conflict" with Russian Federation while maintaining its opposition to human rights abuses by Moscow.

He also said the War on Terror and regime changes had "sometimes they have made the world a more unsafe place".

"The fact is the war on terror, which has driven these interventions, has not succeeded".

"It's an extraordinary question when you think about it".

However, the Labour leader came unstuck when quizzed by journalists about whether he would be prepared to use the country's Trident nuclear deterrent. Would you risk such extensive contamination of the planet that no life could exist across large parts of the world? "They have not increased our security at home - just the opposite, and they have caused destabilisation and devastation overseas", he said.

"He thinks that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is nonsense, I think he's still the chair of Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and I find it genuinely alarming that just last month when we sent the enhanced forward presence to shore up our friends in the Baltics, UK troops went to Estonia he said that an "escalation of tension". It would mean world leaders had already triggered a spiral of catastrophe for humankind.

The Labour leader sought to respond to Tory claims he was weak on defence and security policy by insisting he was "not a pacifist" but that if he was prime minister, the UK would focus on diplomacy and United Nations efforts to find solutions to conflicts.

But the Conservative armed forces minister, Mike Penning, said: "Jeremy Corbyn has spent a lifetime trying to disarm Britain but now he's pretending he's got what it takes to keep us safe". But he went further and said a vote for the Tories was a vote for war.

Mr Corbyn had earlier said he could not pre-judge the outcome of the review.

"He says he would never use Trident, dithers over confronting Isis, and wants to tie the hands of our intelligence services. I will be reaching out to those who have been abandoned by Jeremy Corbyn and let down by government for too long".

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