Keir’s army: 14 ex-military candidates standing as Labour makes nuclear vow

James Moules
Credit: John Healey via Twitter/X

More than a dozen ex-military personnel are now standing as general election candidates for Labour amid a drive to bolster the party’s credentials on national security.

Three more armed forces veterans have been confirmed as prospective parliamentary candidates (PPCs) in the late selections made by the party centrally in the past week, taking the total of ex-service personnel standing for Labour to 14.

It came as Keir Starmer reaffirmed Labour’s commitment to a nuclear deterrent ‘triple lock’ on Monday, including pledges to build four new nuclear submarines in Barrow-in-Furness, maintain continuous at-sea deterrent and ensure all future upgrades are delivered.

Starmer said: “National security will always come first in the changed Labour Party I lead. Keeping our country safe is the bedrock of stability that the British people rightly expect from their government.

“My message to them is clear: Labour has changed. No longer the party of protest, Labour is the Party of national security.

“The excellent former service personnel that are standing as Labour candidates are a testament to that change.”

READ MORE: John Healey: ‘Here’s why Labour is the real party of defence’

The latest batch of ex-military PPCs include former Royal Marines Colonel Al Carns, who will stand for the West Midlands seat of Birmingham Selly Oak.

Army veteran Louise Jones and former RAF commanding officer Calvin Bailey will also be candidates in North East Derbyshire and Leyton and Wanstead respectively.

Labour has also committed to raising defence spending to 2.5% of GDP.

Shadow defence secretary John Healey said: “The Tories have cut the army to its smallest size since Napoleon, missed recruitment targets every year, and allowed morale to fall to record lows. Our armed forces can’t afford another five years of the Conservatives.

“Britain will be better defended with Labour. In government, the UK’s nuclear deterrent will be the bedrock of Labour’s defence plans to keep Britain safe and grow our economy.”

Starmer’s commitment to Britain’s nuclear deterrent represents a shift in stance from Jeremy Corbyn, who voted against renewal of Trident in July 2016 – despite most Labour MPs voting in favour.

However, the party’s subsequent general election manifesto to following year pledged to renew Trident.

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