Turns out that next week’s General Election doesn’t hinge on immigration or Brexit negotiations, the key to Number 10 will actually be handed to the person most willing to instigate nuclear armageddon.
That’s the impression left by voters during Jeremy Corbyn’s stint on the Question Time Leaders Special when the subject of whether or not he would be prepared to push the big red button repeatedly came up.
First to raise the issue – and an eyebrow – was this chap, Adam.
He asked: “If Britain was under imminent under threat from nuclear weapons, how would you react?”
To which Corbyn replied: “I would do everything that I can to ensure that any threat is actually dealt with earlier on by negotiations and by talks. I think the idea of anyone anywhere in the world using a nuclear weapon is utterly appalling.”
This is a bad thing according to the Conservatives.
Pressed by host David Dimbleby, Corbyn then ruled out using nuclear weapons first in a conflict and refused to be drawn on whether he would be prepared to use them as a retaliatory measure.
Adam, wasn’t happy with this. He said: “I do find it incredibly concerning that you wouldn’t commit to doing that – it’s our safety that you have to look out for first and foremost.
“What particularly annoys me is that Trident isn’t just for, heaven forbid, a potential Corbyn government, it goes beyond that many decades into the future.”
And it wasn’t enough to placate the audience and he was loudly heckled.
Another gentlemen in the audience said: “Would you use it as second use or would you allow North Korea or some idiot in Iran to bomb us and say ‘ooh, we better start talking’, you’ll be too late!”
Another said: “You’re asking a massive wish when you’ve got one of the biggest arsenals in the world on your side, but I’d rather have it and not use it than not at all especially in this day and age.”
Corbyn, looking increasingly uncomfortable, simply said “no” when asked by Dimbleby if he would like to comment on that.
It took an impromptu intervention by another audience member to bring some rationality back to the debate.
She said: “I don’t understand why everyone in this room seems so keen on killing millions of people.”
Patrick McLoughlin, the Conservative chairman, said after the debate: “Jeremy Corbyn wilted under pressure – he waffled on and on in meaningless soundbites without offering anything of substance.
“It’s obvious that Corbyn could not secure the good Brexit deal that is vital to protect our economy, meaning fewer jobs and more debt.