SNP and Jeremy Corbyn oppose Trident, while most Labour MPs will back renewal
MPs today will debate whether to replace Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent – four submarines armed with nuclear warheads – with the Left in parliament divided on how to vote.
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is strongly opposed to Trident, while most Labour MPs back renewing the programme, as do many trade unions.
Corbyn’s allies Emily Thornberry and Clive Lewis, shadow Foreign and Defence secretaries respectively, say Prime Minister Theresa May is only holding the vote to exploit Labour rifts during the party’s leadership contest. They are calling on MPs to abstain.
Writing in the Guardian, they said:
‘It [the vote] doesn’t authorise any new funding, or establish any new mechanisms for the delivery or oversight of the programme. It is being held simply to sow further divisions inside the Labour party. […]
Labour should not play this game. We should treat this government and this vote with the contempt they deserve.’
But deputy leader Tom Watson shot back at this, calling abstention ‘unacceptable’:
‘Now the government have made us take another vote on this, you cannot absolve yourself of responsibility for making a decision. […]
Some people say Labour should abstain on this vote. I think that is unacceptable.
You have to be responsible. You have to take a position. You either agree with Trident or you don’t.’
He and the majority of Labour MPs will be voting to replace Trident.
Scottish National Party MPs will vote against renewal, with their Westminster leader Angus Robertson calling Trident ‘an immoral, obscene and redundant weapons system’. He adds:
‘The vote on Trident is one of the most important this parliament will ever take.
For the Tories to commit to spend hundreds of billions of pounds on weapons of mass destruction – particularly at a time when they are making significant cuts to public services – would be both morally and economically indefensible.’
The vote is likely to take several hours and comes as rival Labour leadership contenders are holding hustings at midday today.
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