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Labour defence team frozen out of speech

Credit: PA

Jeremy Corbyn's speech on defence today is very much a personal one.

I understand that not only were the Labour defence team not involved in its drafting, they didn't even see the text until late last night. It was Corbyn loyalist, Barry Gardiner, who was sent out to trail the speech on the airwaves this morning, not the Shadow Defence Secretary Nia Griffiths.

There has been a constant tug of war between Mr Corbyn, who wants to get rid of nuclear weapons, and his party, whose policy is to have them.

At the moment the party is winning, the new weapons system is in the manifesto and Mr Corbyn is expected to say so. A source said: "Even to get a commitment to nuclear deterrence to pass Jeremy Corbyn's lips is a win."

I also understand the line in the draft manifesto, leaked on Tuesday night, which says "any prime minister should be extremely cautious about ordering the use of weapons of mass destruction" has been removed. For the party this was an indication that Mr Corbyn would not use them - his team didn't mind dropping the line as it was arguably self-evident.

The bigger problem for Labour is that they are still asking the country to spend the money to build a new nuclear weapons system, whilst their leader has said he won't actually use it.