Labour Shadow Secretary of State for Defence Emily Thornberry has announced a rigorous consultation process for Labour's strategic review of defence and security, following a request from party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
It follows the Government's Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015 (SDSR), which Thornberry has criticised for failing to consult widely enough and not being based on evidence.
The Labour defence policy review will feed into Labour's National Policy Forum (NPF) and seeks to consult much more widely and deeply than the party has previously done. It hopes to draw on the expertise of the millions of people connected to the armed forces as well as encouraging responses from the public, analysts, trades unions, charities, think tanks, academics, parliamentarians and Labour Party members. The Shadow Defence Secretary promises the review will be “open, transparent and inclusive, and its conclusions will be based on the evidence.”
The consultation process asks for responses to questions on current defence and security challenges including terrorism, cyber threats, climate change, inequality and marginalization, resource scarcity, and mass migration. It starts out with questions on UK values, principles and objectives, queries current threats to our security, and asks for views on our current capabilities and spending choices, whether Trident nuclear weapons can achieve UK objectives, and asks about UK defence related jobs and skills. The review intends to develop a defence and security strategy that will help enable a more secure and peaceful world.
The review will also consider Jeremy Corbyn's suggestions that the UK might retain a 'latent' nuclear capability, and build new Trident submarines but not keep them armed and continuously at sea – an idea similar to the downgrade Trident proposal put forward in 2012 by former Liberal Democrat Defence Minister, Sir Nick Harvey.
While the review is intended to be long term, initial contributions are requested by 30 April 2016 to enable an interim report in June this year. A series of information meetings will also be initiated to support the review.
Details of how to submit information to Labour's Defence Review can be found on the review's web page.