Andy Burnham confirms that he would renew the Trident nuclear weapons system in full

Jeremy Corbyn says he would not spend billions on the missile and submarine system

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Indy Politics

A candidate to be the next leader of the Labour party has confirmed that he would spend billions renewing the Trident nuclear weapons system in full.

Andy Burnham said he could not be certain that Britain would not need the £100bn system, which has never been used.

“I believe in multilateral disarmament but I can’t say to you on the radio now that I would back away from renewing Trident, because I wouldn’t,” he told BBC Radio 4's World at One programme.

“I’ve been an MP for coming on 15 years and when I first got elected I don’t think I could have possibly imagined the world events I have seen in those years.”

HMS Victorious, a Trident nuclear submarine, patrols the waters of the west coast of Scotland

“I do not think I’ll know enough about how this world will develop in the rest of this century for our country now to say ‘you know what, we’re going it alone now’.”

When it was pointed out to Mr Burnham that only nine countries out of around 200 had nuclear weapons, Mr Burnham replied:

“Their history is different, isn’t it? In respect of their involvement in conflicts past and our membership of the security council gives us a leadership position on these matters.”

Cost estimates for the nuclear weapons range between £60bn and £120bn over its lifetime.

Last time nuclear weapons were used in war they killed around 200,000 people. The 70th anniversary of the use of such bombs against Japan was marked this month.

Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall are also in favour of keeping Trident, while Jeremy Corbyn says he would not renew the system, whose current iteration is nearing the end of its life.

The SNP, which runs the Scottish government, is against Trident, as is the Green Party.