Labour leadership contender Owen Smith’s “furious” criticism of his leadership rival Jeremy Corbyn for, in his view, letting the new Tory prime minister “off the hook“ at her first prime minister’s question time demonstrates staggering hypocrisy.(“Corbyn ‘not up to the job;”21 July; http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jul/20/owen-smith-furious-at-corbyns-performance-against-theresa-may)
Two days before prime ministers’ questions, Theresa May led the Government-initiated debate to spend another £205,000,000,000 (£205 billion) on a new nuclear WMD programme. Owen Smith did not participate this debate to speak against Tory policy, but in media interviews before hand, he said he had abandoned his earlier “infantile” support for CND; had become a grown-up politician, and now backed this massive expenditure of taxpayers’ money on new WMDs; and hence he voted for Trident replacement.
Corbyn, meanwhile, spoke strongly against Trident and the Tory mega-death nuclear WMD plans, and for multilateral nuclear disarmament.
During the debate, Smith’s Labour MP followers did speak up for Trident: Jamie Reed asserted: “I support every word of the motion before us in the name of the prime minister"; John Woodcock, the MP for Barrow where Trident subs would be build, backed the Tories saying: “I will walk through the Aye Lobby tonight to vote in favour”; Toby Perkins said “Labour Members should know …that backing Vanguard (“ie Trident) is in keeping with our internationalist principles.”
Meanwhile, Lisa Nandy, one of Owen Smith’s campaign three co-chairs, voted against Trident.
It is Mr Smith’s other backers who let Therea May off the hook in her first appearance at the despatch box, when they could have made the positive case for an innovative industrial investment policy and defence diversification agency to ensure all the trades union members of the wider Labour movement retain their high skilled jobs as Trident is ditched; and they could have argued for reinvestment of a substantial part of the £205 now earmarked for Trident billion into schools, hospitals, sustainable new manufacturing, SureStart expansion and a host of other public services the voters want.
Instead they voted for Trident. And they claim Corbyn Is not a leader!