Labour Party Defence Policy

Immediate strategic defence review, with cuts to Army top brass looming. 

The primary duty of any government is the defence of the nation and its interests – Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR 2015). 

Labour is committed to ensuring the UK has responsive, high-tech Armed Forces, with the capability to respond to emerging, interconnected standing up for Britain’s interests in Europe and the world threats, in an unpredictable security landscape. We will conduct a Strategic Defence and Security Review in the first year of government, with an inclusive national debate on the security and defence challenges facing the country. It will be fiscally responsible and strategically driven, focusing on the obstacles that impede our Armed Forces from effective response to threats.

Covenant and Veterans

At the heart of our defence policy are the service men and women, both regulars and reservists, who risk their lives for their country. Labour will strengthen the covenant between our nation and our Armed Forces, veterans and their families. We will create a Veterans’ Register to make certain our veterans receive proper support on leaving service.

We will continue to roll out Labour’s Veterans’ Interview Programme, in which companies voluntarily guarantee an interview for job-seeking ex-forces personnel. We will introduce legislation to make discrimination against members of our Armed Forces illegal, and we will enshrine the Military Covenant in the NHS Constitution.

UK Defence Industrial

The UK defence and security industry is a key contributor to our economy, with a turnover of £22 billion a year. We will work to secure defence jobs across the UK, protect the supply chain and support industry to grow Britain’s defence exports. In partnership with industry, we will put accountability, value for money, interoperability and sustainability at the centre of defence procurement.


Britain needs to be prepared to counter the threat of cyber-attacks. We have already called on the Government to require every company working with the Ministry of Defence, regardless of its size or the scale of its work, to sign up to a cyber-security charter. This would reduce the risk of hackers using small suppliers to break into the systems of major defence companies or the department itself. We will consult on creating a statutory requirement for all private companies, to report serious cyber-attacks threatening our national infrastructure.

Independent Nuclear Deterrent

Labour remains committed to a minimum, credible, independent nuclear capability, delivered through a Continuous At-Sea Deterrent. We will actively work to increase momentum on global multilateral disarmament efforts and the labour party manifesto 2015 79 negotiations, and look at further reductions in global stockpiles and the numbers of weapons.