Unite union vote to keep Trident at Labour’s party conference

They will have a key vote on the issue of nuclear weapons on 28 September

Jon Stone
Sunday 27 September 2015 15:57 BST
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Trident nuclear submarine HMS Victorious patrolling off the coast of Scotland.
Trident nuclear submarine HMS Victorious patrolling off the coast of Scotland. (Getty Images)

The Unite union will vote to keep the Trident nuclear weapons system when the issue comes up for vote at Labour conference, its general secretary has said.

Len McCluskey said Unite was sympathetic to the argument that the weapons were expensive but that not renewing the multi-billion pound system would cost some workers their jobs.

He told a fringe meeting in Brighton: "We won’t be voting in favour of any anti-Trident resolution.The unions who were opposed to Trident are likely to carry the day and that is the way it is, that is the reality," according to the Telegraph.

Trade unions control 40 per cent of the votes at Labour conference, with Unite by far the biggest of Britain’s unions.

The issue is set to be debated at the Labour party conference in Brighton on 28 September.

"Everyone would love the whole world to get rid of nuclear weapons - we understand the moral arguments and cost arguments in these days of austerity,” Mr McCkuskey told Sky News on Sunday morning.

“However, the most important thing for us is to protect jobs. In the absence of any credible alternative to protect jobs and high skills we will vote against any anti-Trident resolution.”

The decision by Unite means that a large portion of the conference’s vote will now be set against renewal, with retention of the current policy the likely outcome.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has previously said he wants to scrap Trident but some within his party are opposed to the move.

He has said what Labour’s policy on the issue is would be a matter for the party’s conference.

Labour supported nuclear disarmament during the 1980s but dropped the policy under Neil Kinnock.

The SNP, which dominates Scottish politics, is opposed to the renewal of Trident, and has used the weapons system as a dividing line with Labour.

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