Missile’s off-course test preceded Commons renewal vote
LABOUR has demanded the Prime Minister tell Parliament when she knew about serious failures of Trident amid accusations of a cover-up.
The call was made by shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith after it was revealed that an unarmed missile launched from a British submarine off the coast of Florida in June had strayed from its intended course.
The malfunction came ahead of the crucial Commons vote on renewing the nuclear weapons system.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Downing Street knew about the incident weeks ahead of the vote and colluded in a cover-up, according to a Sunday Times report.
Ms Griffith has called for an urgent inquiry into the allegation.
Theresa May refused to say whether she knew about the misfire despite being asked four times on BBC’s Andrew Marr Show yesterday.
Ms May had moved the motion for the Commons to back Trident renewal five days after she became PM.
Ms Griffith warned: “This report of a Trident missile veering off course during a test is clearly a very serious matter indeed and we need to know exactly what happened.
“Furthermore, it is completely unacceptable that today the Prime Minister chose to sidestep questions on the test and would not even tell us when she knew about the incident.
“I am demanding the Prime Minister come to Parliament to give a full explanation to MPs.”
Stop the War Coalition convenor Lindsey German accused Ms May of deliberately misleading MPs and condemned Trident as “a costly and useless mistake.”
CND general secretary Kate Hudson said the incident was a “very serious failure” and, had the information been known at the time, would have affected the debate in Parliament.
She added: “Nuclear weapons technology is not 100 per cent fail-safe. In so many ways it is a disaster waiting to happen, the consequences of which are too terrible to comprehend.
“Why has the government knowingly committed us to spending £205 billion on this demonstrably unreliable technology?”
A government spokesman said: “We have absolute confidence in our independent nuclear deterrent.”
The hearing of five activists who tried to prevent Trident renewal starts today. Peace Pledge Union’s Symon Hill suggested: “Perhaps it is not them who should be on trial.”