WORKERS building and maintaining the UK’s nuclear weapons would be retrained for more peaceful endeavours under Jeremy Corbyn’s “defence diversification agenda”, the Labour leadership hopeful told an audience in Scotland.
Around 19,000 Scottish jobs are dependent on the Faslane nuclear submarine base, according to Labour analysis.
Instead, they’re not making nuclear weapons, they’re making something that is safer and more useful for the whole world.Jeremy Corbyn
But Mr Corbyn, who is the frontrunner to lead the UK Labour Party, says he has a “moral opposition” to nuclear weapons and is committed to scrapping the renewal of Trident and decommissioning the UK’s existing arms.
Mr Corbyn brought his campaign trail to Scotland today with trips to Aberdeen and Dundee, followed by visits to Edinburgh on Friday and finally to Glasgow which lies just 30 miles up the river Clyde from Faslane.
Mr Corbyn also pledged to work with the SNP to fight austerity, rejected Tory proposals for English votes for English laws, and set out his plan to harness Scotland’s engineering expertise for the benefit of the whole UK.
Speaking to journalists in Aberdeen, he said: “My life has been one of a moral opposition to nuclear weapons.
“We’ve put forward serious proposals for a defence diversification agenda for the whole of the UK to ensure that jobs are not lost, those skills are not lost, the engineering capability is not lost.
“Instead, they’re not making nuclear weapons, they’re making something that is safer and more useful for the whole world.”
Mr Corbyn rejected the SNP’s ambition of Scottish independence, but said he is willing to work with the party to fight the Welfare Reform Bill.
“Clearly in the UK Parliament there isn’t, at the moment, a majority that can defeat the Conservatives on welfare and other issues,” he said.
“But clearly all other UK parties have got to come together and that will indeed put a lot of pressure on the Conservative Government. Who knows what comes from that.
“Politics really isn’t just about the arithmetic in Holyrood, Westminster, Cardiff or anywhere else. It’s actually about what people do outside. Political change actually comes from the democratic base in our society, and we should be proud of that.”
On the SNP’s ambition of independence, he said: “At the end of the day, the UK has to share out its resources in a fair and reasonable way, and ensure that everyone gets somewhere to live, every young person gets a college place, a university place or a training place and they move into good quality jobs.
“Scotland is the basis of so much of the engineering industry of the whole of the UK.
“Thatcher’s de-industrialisation is a scar that’s still there all across the UK, but particularly in Scotland.
“I do not support English laws for English issues. It’s a UK Parliament and all members of the UK Parliament should be able to vote on all issues that are put before the UK Parliament.”