Staff, Times & Star
16 May 2017
The controversial Trident nuclear deterrent would be retained under a Labour government, the party has confirmed in its manifesto.
Although it did not form a part of leader Jeremy Corbyn's public unveiling of the policies he hopes will win him the election, it was contained within the 124-page document.
On page 120, the paragraph referring to it says: "Labour supports the renewal of the Trident nuclear deterrent."
Concrete support for renewal of the missiles came after suggestions to that effect when the party's draft manifesto was leaked last week.
It is seen as a major issue in Cumbria because the submarines which carry the warheads are built in Barrow at BAE Systems.
The news has been welcomed by John Woodcock, who is hoping to be re-elected in Barrow and Furness on June 8.
He said: "I am focusing on the local issues that matter to our community rather than the national manifesto because it's obvious that Theresa May is so far ahead elsewhere in the country that she will remain as prime minister after the election.
"However, there are some important ideas in here that show the difference a strong Labour opposition could make with local MPs that are determined to stand up for their community against a Tory landslide.
"It's particularly pleasing to see the commitment to renew Trident remaining Labour Party policy in the manifesto after years of campaigning by our community.
"The choice for Barrow and Furness on 8 June is to re-elect me as your strong, independent Labour voice against a Tory landslide or a Conservative nodding dog who won't stand up against the NHS cuts to our local hospital."
Despite supporting the retention of Trident, the manifesto did set out Labour's commitment to furthering the UK's part in complying with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, an international agreement with the objective of preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and ultimately achieving the goal of nuclear disarmament.
Simon Fell, who is contesting the Barrow in Furness seat for the Conservatives, has poured scorn on the Trident announcement.
He said: "It hasn't changed anything. I find their manifesto is quite worrying. They will back Trident for the next three weeks but after that they would have a strategic defense review.
"If a government led by Jeremy Corbyn or Labour on its own comes in to power it is entirely possible that the entire program of work for defense will be re-written.
"The manifesto is a fudge, it is the Labour Party trying to harden itself for the next few weeks."
Labour's manifesto included announcements on a number of policies, from nationalizing rail, renationalizing the Post Office, hiring an extra 10,000 police officers and building at least 100,000 council and housing association homes a year by the end of the next parliament.
Also standing for election in Barrow and Furness are Loraine Birchall (Lib Dem), Rob O’Hara (Green), and Alan Nigel Piper (Ukip).