Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Corbyn: We Are Strong on Defence

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Corbyn: We Are Strong on Defence

Article excerpt

Byline: Jonathan Walker Political Editor

LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn has hit back after North East MP Kevan Jones resigned as a Shadow Defence Minister.

Mr Corbyn rejected claims that his defence team was dominated by southerners, after Mr Jones warned voters in the North would be "dismayed" by the Labour leader's reshuffle.

It followed Mr Corbyn's decision to replace North West MP Maria Eagle as shadow defence secretary with Emily Thornberry, who represents a constituency in north London.

Speaking to The Journal at Westminster, Mr Corbyn said: "Kevan has made that view. I don't share that view.

"It is a national responsibility. And some of the team do come from London but not all of them. That is inevitable in any team.

"I don't share that point of view and I have a very agreeable relation with Kevan. We have worked very well together in the past on mental health issues and mental health campaigning and we do so."

He insisted that Labour would strengthen its defence policy - but Labour's National Executive Committee would play a leading role.

"There is a defence policy review under way with the National Executive, and that will be done with the National Executive in conjunction with the shadow team.

"And we will be looking at all aspects of the defence review including the resilience of the armed services, the support given to peacekeeping operations."

Ms Thornberry will help determine defence policy alongside Ken Livingstone, the former London mayor, who is co-chair of the policy review.

The pair are understood to oppose renewal of the UK's Trident nuclear deterrent system, something which Mr Jones and Ms Eagle both support.

Speaking earlier this week about his reasons for resigning, Mr Jones said: "We have got to be credible on defence in the country and I think appointing Emily is a mistake "The London-centric view on defence is not necessarily in the interests of many thousands of defence workers or members of the armed forces that are out there in the country. …

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