Jeremy Corbyn has effectively ruled out using nuclear weapons if he is elected prime minister.

In a speech at London’s Chatham House, the Labour leader said he was “often asked if as prime minister I would order the use of nuclear weapons.”

It’s an extraordinary question when you think about it – would you order the indiscriminate killing of millions of people? Would you risk such extensive contamination of the planet that no life could exist across large parts of the world?

If circumstances arose where that was a real option, it would represent complete and cataclysmic failure. It would mean world leaders had already triggered a spiral of catastrophe for humankind.

Asked if he would categorically rule out the use of nuclear weapons, even in retaliation, Mr Corbyn did not engage with the question. He did say that he was in favour of using military force in some circumstances, suggesting that Britain was right to enter the Second World War but not the First World War.

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