LABOUR MPs will be given a free vote in Monday’s once-in-a-generation decision over Trident renewal, a party source said yesterday.
It has been claimed that the Tories called the snap vote on the £205 billion weapons in a cynical bid to heal the divisions in their own party and stoke tension within Labour.
Labour is conducting a defence policy review led by anti-nuclear MP Emily Thornberry, but without a settled policy a Labour spokesman said: “The likelihood is that there will be a free vote.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will argue from the front bench that the government would break Britain’s commitment to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty if it agreed to create four new Trident submarines for the next 50 years.
“The proposal the government is bringing forward, specifically about a continuous at sea deterrence and support of the four boats at sea in perpetuity, is effectively in violation of Britain’s commitments under the Non-Proliferation Treaty because it’s saying there will be no reduction in capacity for the foreseeable future,” the spokesman added.
The Non-Proliferation Treaty — which Britain committed to in 1968 — requires member countries to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and work towards complete disarmament.
A Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) survey of 106 Labour candidates in safe seats before the last general election found 80 per cent were opposed to Trident renewal.
Owen Smith, a Labour leadership candidate, said yesterday he will support Trident renewal despite previously having been a member of CND.