Commons votes for Trident renewal by majority of 355

Theresa May has said she would be willing to authorise a nuclear strike that could kill 100,000 people, as the House of Commons voted overwhelming to replace Britain’s Trident programme.The prime minister confirmed she would be prepared to press the nuclear button if necessary as she opened a debate about whether the UK should spend up to £40bn replacing four submarines that carry nuclear warheads.After more than five hours of discussion, parliament voted in favour of Trident renewal by a majority of 355 in a motion backed by almost the entire Conservative party and more than half of Labour MPs.It was opposed by all Scottish National party (SNP) MPs, the Lib Dems and Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, a lifelong unilateralist who spoke out strongly against the plans during the debate.Other members of Corbyn’s frontbench team, including the shadow defence secretary, Clive Lewis, and the shadow foreign affairs secretary, Emily Thornberry, abstained after claiming in a Guardian article that the government was turning an issue of “national security into a political game”.However, around 140 of his MPs – including leadership challengers Angela Eagle and Owen Smith – voted in favour of renewing Trident, with many highlighting Labour’s historic position in support of a continuous at-sea nuclear deterrent. Forty-seven Labour MPs joined Corbyn in voting against Trident, while another 41 were absent or abstained.While Labour were split on the issue, the Conservatives have been hoping the Trident issue could help unify their party after a fractious EU referendum campaign.However, May attracted gasps during the debate when she made clear she would be willing to authorise a nuclear strike killing 100,000 people, when challenged by the SNP about whether she would ever approve a nuclear hit causing mass loss of life.Intervening in her opening speech, the SNP MP George Kerevan, asked: “Is she personally prepared to authorise a nuclear strike that can kill a hundred thousand innocent men, women and children?”May responded: “Yes. And I have to say to the honourable gentleman the whole point of a deterrent is that our enemies need to know that we would be prepared to use it, unlike some suggestions that we could have a deterrent but not actually be willing to use it, which seem to come from the Labour party frontbench.”

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s