Barrow MP Angry At Labour's Shipyard Review Plan

27 September 2018, 06:00

John Woodcock

Plans being considered by the Labour party would see them propose to scrap the Dreadnought programme in Barrow shipyard with workers offered retraining grants.

Plans being considered by the Labour party would see them propose to scrap the Dreadnought programme in Barrow shipyard with workers offered retraining grants.
 
Barrow's independent MP John Woodcock said the news underlined why he feels he was right to leave the Labour Party earlier this year.
In his letter resigning from the party, Mr Woodcock said that the Labour leader "would pose a clear risk to UK national security as prime minister".
 
The proposals which Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has reportedly agreed to put forward to the Labour front bench would seek to scrap the Dreadnought programme, and move the skills and employment currently involved into civilian industry as part of a Labour "Peace Doctrine" being worked up by the shadow minister for peace, Fabian Hamilton.
 
Any move to review or scrap the submarine renewal programme could see thousands of jobs lost in Barrow shipyard and the wider supply chain. It would also severely weaken the UK's nuclear protraction. Although steel has already been cut on the new vessels, experts warn that further delays could mean they are not ready in time to replace the ageing Vanguard-class submarines. That would mean an end to the cornerstone continual at-sea deterrence posture that has helped protect the UK from nuclear blackmail for five decades.
 
Mr Woodcock said: "When I left the Labour party earlier this year, I made clear I could not support making Jeremy Corbyn prime minister given the damage he and his leadership team could do to UK national security.

"Despite his long record of opposing NATO, the UK armed forces and the nuclear deterrent, people insisted Labour under Corbyn would not revisit the decision that is bringing a generation of work to Barrow's shipyard.

"So people who wanted to trust Labour in Barrow despite all their misgivings will be dismayed at this high level move to scrap the submarine programme - apparently supported by the leader himself. Even a minor delay caused by a review would cause turmoil at the time when the enterprise is finely balanced."
 
BAE Systems, which employees over 9,000 people in their Barrow shipyard alone, would be just one of the companies affected by scrapping the Dreadnought submarine programme. At a broader level, the nuclear deterrent supports over 850 companies as part of the supply chain, supporting with 26,000 jobs.