Maria Eagle has played directly into the hands of Labour’s enemies. If she was serious when she spoke of Jeremy Corbyn being ill-advised to admit he would not use nuclear weapons, why did she not take her own advice to heart?
There is a review of Labour’s defence policy, Trident is part of it, so it would have been more proper for Maria Eagle to note the position held by Scottish Labour and include it in the decision-making process.
Corbyn did appoint her as shadow defence secretary in the knowledge that she disagreed with him. Perhaps he was trying to teach her a valuable lesson – that her opinions are not as important as the will of the people?
That is a rare thought in politics these days!
Maria Eagle, the shadow defence secretary, has asserted her authority over Scottish Labour, saying the wider Labour party’s defence policy is determined at a UK level and it remains committed to the renewal of the Trident nuclear programme.
On Sunday Scottish Labour voted to reject the renewal of Trident, at the urging of Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader. Eagle told BBC Radio 4’s World at One: “This does not change UK Labour party policy. Defence is not a devolved matter so Labour party policy on this must be set at a national level.”
Her remarks reflect anger in parts of the shadow cabinet that Corbyn decided to encourage Scottish Labour to reject Trident even though it had been agreed there would be a review of Labour’s defence policy, including on the nuclear deterrent. Corbyn welcomed the decision as a sign that democracy was opening up inside the Labour party.
Eagle also criticised the Labour leader’s decision to say in a recent BBC interview that he would never press the nuclear button if he were prime minister. She said|: “I don’t think Jeremy was well advised to answer that question in the way which he did.”
She also reminded the public that Corbyn had appointed her as shadow defence secretary knowing that she disagreed with him on unilateral nuclear disarmament. She said the review she was undertaking was serious and based on extensive consultation, including among Labour voters and the wider public.
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