Monday, 18 July 2016

MPs vote to renew Trident weapons system


Breaking News image
MPs have backed the renewal of the UK's Trident nuclear weapons system, voting 472 to 117 in favour in Parliament.
The vote approves the manufacture of four replacement submarines at an estimated cost of £31bn.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon told MPs nuclear threats were growing around the world and Trident "puts doubts in the minds of our adversaries".
Labour was split over the issue with many of its MPs defying leader Jeremy Corbyn and backing the government.
Although Labour MPs were given a free vote, many used the occasion to attack Mr Corbyn, who is a longstanding opponent of nuclear weapons. The BBC understands that 60% of Labour's MPs voted in favour of Trident renewal.
The SNP opposed the move, saying nuclear weapons were "immoral" and the continued stationing of submarines on the Clyde could accelerate moves towards independence.

'Serious investment'

The vote, by a majority of 355, came at the end of a five-hour debate, in which Prime Minister Theresa May spoke at the despatch box for the first time as prime minister.
She said it would be an "act of gross irresponsibility" for the UK to abandon the continuous-at-sea weapons system.
Although preparatory work on renewal is already under way, Monday's vote will give the final green light to a new fleet of submarines which are due to come into service by the early 2030s.
Summing up, Mr Fallon said Trident had helped protect the UK for more than 50 years and to disown it now would be to "gamble the long-term security of our citizens".
The UK faced growing threats from rogue nations, such as North Korea, as well as a more assertive Russia, he said.
"Nuclear weapons are here, they are not going to disappear," he said. "It is the role of government to make sure we can defend ourselves against them."
While acknowledging Trident was a "serious investment", Mr Fallon rejected claims it was a Cold War relic and could be increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks.
The UK, he insisted, was committed to multilateral nuclear disarmament and would reduce its stockpile of nuclear warheads to 180 by the mid-2020s.
Although the official figures have yet to be confirmed, the BBC has been told that 138 Labour MPs voted with the government, while 48 abstained and 35 voted against.

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