Monday, July 18, 2016

MPs vote to renew Trident by 472 to 117

MPs have voted by a majority of 355 to develop a new generation of submarines to replace Britain's Trident fleet which provides a platform for the UK's independent nuclear deterrent.

As I posted earlier today I think it would have been very dangerous to have made any other decision, both because we are living in a dangerous world: we should not consider unilateral nuclear disarmament. At the very least it would be incredibly rash to give up our nuclear weapons other than as part of a multilateral deal which secured significant disarmament by other nations.

It would also have been incredibly rash for this country to undermine two of the three pillars which have supported the defence of the West in consecutive months - the Western nuclear umbrella and the EU - at a time when there is a real possibility that the USA might be about to elect a president who is lukewarm about NATO and thinks European states are not shouldering our fair share of our own defence.

I gather than the 472 MPs who voted to renew Trident included most if not all Conservatives and a majority - 140 - of Labour MPs.

Labour split three ways. The majority kept their manifesto promise and voted in the national interest by supporting the renewal of Trident. I very rarely praise Labour MPs but the defence of our country is too important to be partisan so all credit to them on this occasion.

Forty-Seven Labour MPs voted against the renewal of Trident - and thereby also voted against official Labour party policy and the manifesto they were elected on - including the Leader of the Labour party and the Shadow Chancellor.


Forty-one Labour MPs were absent or recorded a formal abstention including Labour's Shadow Foreign Secretary and Shadow Defence Secretary.

Frankly I have less time for this position than I have for that of the Corbynistas. This still puts them in breach of their manifesto promise but shows all the backbone of a disintegrating jellyfish.

More than half the votes against renewal of Trident came from SNP members of the Westminster parliament.

It is far from evident that this represents either the wishes or the interests of Scotland. I take all opinion polls with a bucketfull of salt these days but what evidence there is suggests that support for Trident among the people of Scotland is much stronger than it is among SNP politicians.

A major recent opinion poll summarised here found more Scots in favour or renewing Trident while other countries keep their nuclear weapons than to the contrary.

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