Foreign affairs committee chair slams ‘political weapon aimed at Labour Party’
THERESA MAY’S claims that sinking Trident would put Britain’s security at risk were blown out of the water yesterday by the Tory chair of the parliamentary foreign affairs select committee.
In her first statement to Parliament since becoming Prime Minister, Ms May branded the campaign against Trident renewal a “reckless gamble.”
In a barb aimed at Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, she said: “We cannot abandon our ultimate safeguard out of misplaced idealism.”
Mr Corbyn led calls for Britain to set an example to the world by ridding itself of nuclear weapons.
“Is it not the time for us to step up to the plate and promote rapid nuclear disarmament?” he asked in his response to Ms May.
Green MP Caroline Lucas also challenged the PM, saying the “the logic of [her] position is that every other single country must seek to acquire nuclear weapons.
“Our nuclear weapons are driving proliferation, not the opposite,” she concluded.
SNP MP George Kerevan asked Ms May whether she was ‘“personally prepared to authorise a nuclear attack that could kill hundreds of thousands of men, women and children?” Chillingly, she answered simply: “Yes.”
The opponents of renewal were boosted by support from Crispin Blunt, chair of the influential foreign affairs select committee and an ex-soldier.
In a statement on the vote, the Tory MP wrote: “I oppose the renewal of Trident because I care about the security of my country. The truth is that this is a political weapon, effectively aimed against the Labour Party, whose justification rests on the defence economics, the politics and the strategic situation of over three decades ago.”
Peace campaigners rallied outside Parliament as MPs considered whether to commission a fleet of four new nuclear submarines at a lifetime cost of £205 billion.
A group of 10 activists occupied the lobby of the building, sitting with their hands glued together and singing anti-Trident songs.
Activist Angie Zelter said: “This is not being done in our name, is not in the public interest and is not for our security.
Nuclear weapons are illegal, immoral and shameful.”
Trade unions are split on the issue of whether to retain Britain’s nuclear weapons beyond 2030, when the submarines that currently carry them are due for withdrawal.
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “The British economy needs real investment in public services, not years of cuts and certainly not a nuclear weapons system designed for the cold war era.”
But GMB representatives travelled to Parliament yesterday to lobby MPs to vote in line with “stability and security” for the union’s members and communities relying on Trident-related jobs.
General secretary Tim Roache said: “It’s not acceptable to play politics with our members’ livelihoods.”