The Telegraph reports:
The debate on Trident opened with Theresa May’s first appearance at the dispatch box as Prime Minister. It was an ideal way to start, given that not only was the Government on her side, but almost all of the Opposition.
Little more than five minutes had passed before a Labour MP (John Woodock, Barrow and Furness) leapt up to denounce the anti-Trident stance of his leader, Jeremy Corbyn. Mrs May welcomed this intervention, and quoted Labour’s official view on Trident, which is firmly pro.
British politics in 2016, ladies and gentlemen: a Tory PM approvingly quotes Labour policy, while a Labour leader argues against it.
Corbyn demands loyalty, but won’t even be loyal to his own party’s policy.
The SNP, who shared Mr Corbyn’s opposition to Trident, asked Mrs May if she was really prepared “to launch a nuclear strike that could kill a hundred thousand innocent men, women and children?”
“Yes,” replied Mrs May, without hesitation. “Wow!” gasped the SNP benches theatrically, pretending to be shocked – as if they’d expected her to say, “Heavens, no. Our enemies must understand that if they attack us, I would never fire back!”
Which is Corbyn’s policy.
Mr Corbyn spoke next. It was some spectacle: the Labour leader arguing one way, his MPs disagreeing.
“My honourable friend is very fond of telling us that party conference is sovereign when it comes to policy,” snapped Angela Smith (Lab, Penistone and Stockbridge).
“Last year, conference voted overwhelmingly in favour of maintaining the nuclear deterrent!” Other Labour MPs cheered.
If Corbyn hangs onto the leadership, I have no doubt Labour will split.