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Labour Party Shifts Right on Defense Policy, Eyes Nuclear Deterrence as Key Strategy

Daniel Kim Views  

Yonhap News

The UK’s main opposition party, the Labour Party, has announced plans to increase the defense budget and strengthen nuclear deterrence if it comes to power. With the likelihood of Labour taking control in the general election next month, the party is seen as strategically pursuing moderate conservative voters by prioritizing security issues.

According to the UK’s BBC and other sources, At a campaign event in northern England on the 3rd, Labour Party leader Keir Starmer declared the party’s commitment to security, armed forces, and nuclear deterrence. He outlined a defense policy focused on a “nuclear triple lock.” The security policies announced on the day include the construction of four nuclear submarines, maintaining naval deterrence, and upgrading submarines for efficient naval patrols. He also proposed increasing the defense budget to 2.5% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), aligning with the Conservative Party’s pledge. The current UK’s defense budget is at 2.3% of GDP.

This represents a significant shift from the Labour Party’s traditional stance. The Labour Party has historically been passive on security issues, particularly maintaining a negative stance on nuclear weapons. In September 2015, former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told The Guardian in an interview, “I am opposed to the holding of nuclear weapons. I want to see a nuclear-free world. I believe it is possible.”

However, with defense and security becoming a major issue in elections following the war in Ukraine, the Labour Party is seen as adopting a right-leaning stance to demonstrate its capability and trustworthiness as a ruling party. At the event, when asked whether he would approve the use of nuclear weapons if he became the next Prime Minister, Starmer said, “We must be prepared to use them.” He clearly expressed a willingness to use nuclear weapons for national defense purposes. Reuters highlighted that even though the Labour Party leads by more than 20 points in opinion polls, it still faces the challenge of convincing undecided voters of its capabilities in managing defense, health, and immigration issues.

Meanwhile, right-wing politician Nigel Farage, the Brexit champion, has announced his candidacy in the general election. Farage, a key figure in leading Brexit, will run as a candidate for the right-wing party Reform UK. This will be another obstacle for the ruling Conservative Party, which is already significantly trailing the Labour Party.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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