Jo Swinson’s response to question on nuclear weapons provokes backlash

Jo Swinson on ITV's election interviews. Photograph: ITV.

Jo Swinson on ITV's election interviews. Photograph: ITV. - Credit: Archant

Jo Swinson has been criticised for saying without hesitation that she would be willing to use nuclear weapons as prime minister.

Appearing on ITV's Election Interview after the main debate, Swinson was asked if she would ever be prepared to use a nuclear weapon.

Swinson did not hesitate to respond "yes", with the interview praising her for her "brilliant short answer".

But the response provoked a backlash from viewers who believed she was too eager to respond positively.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: "It's sickening to hear this question asked and answered as if it's some kind of virility test and without any context. Using nuclear weapons would mean killing millions of people. Those consequences should be made clear. (FWIW - and for that reason - my answer is 'no')."

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The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament wrote: "This is a disgraceful response from @JoSwinson. Not for the 1st time in this general election, she confirms she's ready to press the nuclear button. Not even a moment's hesitation about the prospect of killing millions of people. We need better than this."

Another tweeted: "In the past day: Jo Swinson calls out 'worrying' fake news story about her throwing stones at squirrels, later confirms without clarification that she would use nuclear weapons on people."

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But Swinson was also praised by those who had been critical of politicians like Jeremy Corbyn, who has previously failed to give a straight answer.

Piers Morgan tweeted: "Right answer @joswinson - else why have a nuclear missile system?"

James Marley said: "The question was basically is here a scenario when you would use it? Any credible prime minister would say yes. If not, where is the deterrent to people throwing nukes at us. Of course many wouldn't have them anyway, but having built and funded them it's a bit daft to say no...."

Michele Wheeler pointed out it was a difficult question for politicians to answer.

She wrote: "What do you expect her to say? She's doomed if she does and shes doomed if doesn't."

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