Jeremy Corbyn defends desire to scrap Trident on Andrew Marr Show: 'This is a weapon of mass destruction'

Corbyn appears in first major TV interview since Labour leadership election

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Jeremy Corbyn has defended his desire to scrap the Trident nuclear weapons programme, saying it "wouldn't put people's jobs at risk".

Speaking in his first substantial TV interview since being named Labour leader two weeks ago, Mr Corbyn refused to say whether he would open up the issue to a free vote among Labour MPs.

Speaking to Andrew Marr in Brighton, he said: "There are many people, military thinkers, who are opposed to Trident because they are very concerned.

"They don't see it as part of modern military defence, they don't see any situation where Trident would become an option you would think about using. This is a weapon of mass destruction!"

Mr Corbyn said his own view on Trident was "absolutely clear". He said: "I want us to fulfil our obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation agreement and work towards disarmament. 

"I also want to ringfence that money in engineering and defence diversification projects. People's jobs are not at risk because of this, in fact the engineering employment base in this country would be stronger."

Asked whether key Labour figures like the shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn, who have said they would keep Trident, would be forced to side with him, Mr Corbyn asked if it was "so bad" there was a difference of opinion.

"We'll have the discussion around the shadow Cabinet and around the PLP (Parliamentary Labour Party)," he said. "I will do my persuasive best to bring [the rest of the party] round to my point of view."

It comes as Mr Corbyn said he would be willing to work with the SNP to oppose the renewal of Britain's nuclear deterrent. He told BBC Scotland at the end of last week: "In the House of Commons, I was chair of the CND group and one of the vice chairs is from the SNP and yes we will be voting with them on this, or they will be voting with us, whichever way you want to put it."

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