US has finger on button, soldier says, as Eagle dismisses Scots Trident vote
A RETIRED senior army officer has rubbished claims that Britain’s nuclear arsenal is “independent” as the shadow defence secretary denied that Scottish Labour’s vote to reject Trident would change British party policy.
Former 2nd Division commander Major General Patrick Cordingley argued that the US controls all British nuclear operations and that disarmament would affect the relationship between the two countries.
“There is a possibility that they’ll cut all the information off that we get from them because we share our nuclear knowhow,” Maj Gen Cordingley told Russia Today journalist Afshin Rattansi.
“You must remember that they control everything about our nuclear deterrent, we can’t fire it without them.”
He slapped down politicians such as former Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy who claim that the British nuclear deterrent is independent.
“They would have to say that. It is simply not true, the control over firing these things would be the American president,” Maj Gen Cordingley said.
“We could simply not press the button and fire one ourselves, we just can’t do it, I promise you.” Scottish Labour voted during its annual conference in Perth on Sunday to scrap Britain’s part in the Trident nuclear missile programme.
An opportunity to form similar policy on the British level was missed when delegates to the British Labour conference voted not to put Trident on the agenda.
And shadow defence secretary Maria Eagle said yesterday that Labour’s policy to replace Trident like-for-like would remain despite the Scottish vote.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, however, welcomed the Scottish decision.
A new nuclear missile programme is set to cost Britain £167 billion.
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) welcomed Maj Gen Cordingley’s comments.
“What Maj Gen Cordingley says comes as no surprise — the assertion that Trident is independent has always been absurd,” said CND general secretary Kate Hudson.
“With Scottish Labour now opposed to Trident replacement what more evidence do we need that there is a sea change in attitudes towards nuclear weapons affecting all parts of society and across the political spectrum?”