Jeremy Corbyn CND rally 27 Feb 2016
Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party, addresses a protest against the Trident nuclear missile system in London, 27 February 2016.Paul Hackett/Reuters

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn answered his critics within his own party over his anti-Trident stance by claiming scrapping the nuclear deterrent could create a high-tech resurgence in the UK.
The left-winger, speaking to thousands of people at a Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) rally in Trafalgar Square, said the money saved on not renewing Trident could be spent on investing in skills and the manufacturing and engineering sectors.

"[Not replacing Trident] is every reason to invest in those towns, cities and economies so that those skills are not lost. They are still working – making aircraft, making ships, making all of the things and the high-technology that goes with it," Corbyn declared.

"See this as an opportunity for the regeneration of high-tech industries in Britain, not the destruction of them. We can, indeed, achieve something very much better as a result of a positive decision that we don't spend £100bn [$138.73bn] on the replacement of the old Trident system. I would like to see those resources invested primarily in ensuring that we have good quality industry behind us."

Corbyn used figures from the CND which says Trident will cost £100bn over the 40 years of its expected lifespan. This is, in part, based on Ministry of Defence's claim it will spend 5-6% of its annual defence budget on the submarine-based nuclear deterrent.

The government has said that the cost of renewing the Trident nuclear deterrent will be between £17.5bn to £23.4bn.

Jobs and votes warnings

The speech came after the GMB Union warned "tens of thousands" of jobs could be axed if Trident is not renewed. Labour deputy leader Tom Watson also claimed a majority of Labour MPs would back the government's pro-Trident position if a vote was held in the House of Commons.

The row at the top of Labour comes as shadow defence secretary Emily Thornberry leads a review into the party's defence policy, which is expected to be initially published in June.

Corbyn, the final speaker to address the CND rally, followed anti-Trident speeches from First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon and Green MP Caroline Lucas, among other left-wing politicians and campaigners.

Around 10,000 people braved the bitter cold to take part in the central London demonstration, according to the CND.

Stop Trident rally: Jeremy Corbyn and celebrities join thousands in CND London demonstrationIBTimes UK