Trident vote sees Left climb into their separate trenches

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 Guardianthey 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.

See: Theresa May calls it ‘sheer madness’ not to renew Trident nuclear deterrent


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7 Responses to “Trident vote sees Left climb into their separate trenches”

  1. Jacko

    Of course Corbyn is opposed to Trident. This is man who doesn’t want armed police. His Chancellor wants to disband MI5. Vote loser, election loser.

  2. Tony

    I read Watson’s article and I thought it was rubbish.

    British nuclear weapons have nothing at all to do with defending the people of this country:

    Denis Healey, former Defence Secretary:

    “I was very doubtful about the need for Britain to have nuclear weapons but I didn’t express it in public. The main reason we had them was not to deter a Soviet attack but to reassure the Americans”.

    14/03/2011: “Document” Radio 4

  3. Michael WALKER

    Quoting a failed Labour politician of thirty years ago to support your case today is hardly convincing.

  4. ted francis

    We wouldn’t be able to fire it unilaterally anyway, we have to get Uncle Sam’s permission. If they want it so badly, let them pay for it.

  5. Jimmy Glesga

    The Trident system is not controlled by the USA as some lefties would falsely and deliberately suggest. It is entirely independent and will remain so.
    No one will attack Britain directly or economically if we retain the capability to waste them entirely. Not that we would do that unless attacked.

  6. David Lindsay

    Theresa May has revived the notion that we need Trident “because of North Korea”, for which the whole House laughed in David Cameron’s face not very long ago at all. The last thing that we need is a Leader of the Opposition who agrees with her.

    We know, because we can see it from space, that North Korea is barely electrified. Yet we are taking at face value its extravagant claims of intercontinental nuclear capability. Or, at the very least, we are pretending to do so. Why?

  7. Julia Gibb

    So Jimmy Glesga feels safe if attacked. Do we nuke the truck manufacturer or Daesh tents?
    Should we nuke Argentina or Spain if they occupy Gibraltar or the Falklands?

    Perhaps we should nuke someone just to make sure the “Others” know we really, really mean it.

    A sad day that a once great Labour Party has now been fully taken from the people by the MPs.
    Billions spent on the obscenity of WMD.

    I could cry and probably will when my anger abates.

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