MPs weren’t told about crisis before making crucial decision to renew weapon
THERESA MAY was pressed yesterday to come clean over her knowledge of the misfire of a Trident missile after it was confirmed yesterday that she knew about it before the crucial Commons vote.
Ms May dodged answering questions four times on BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday about whether she was informed of the weapons test failure, before MPs voted to renew Trident at a cost of £205 billion.
But the Prime Minister’s press spokeswoman told reporters at a Westminster briefing that Ms May had been told of the test operation as soon as she moved into 10 Downing Street.
She said: “The Defence Secretary and the Prime Minister are routinely informed when one of these specific ‘demonstration and shakedown’ operations are planned and on the outcome of them.
“On taking office, the current Prime Minister was briefed on a range of nuclear issues, including this,” she added.
After a heated Commons debate last July, MPs voted with a 355 majority in favour of renewing the nuclear weapons system, however they had not been informed about the misfire off the coast of Florida the month before.
Commons defence committee chair Julian Lewis blamed former prime minister David Cameron’s administration for ordering a cover-up.
The Tory MP told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme that whoever took the decision “to draw a veil” over the incident should be sacked.
But a press spokesman for Mr Cameron said: “It is entirely false to suggest that David Cameron’s media team covered up or tried to cover up the Trident missile test. We are disappointed that Julian Lewis would make these claims with no evidence.”
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon was hauled in front of the Commons as MPs demanded answers.
Former Labour defence minister Kevan Jones quizzed him over who ordered the “news blackout” before the vote on Trident renewal — whether it was him or Mr Cameron.
The White House had confirmed to CNN that the missile auto-destructed off the Florida coast, shadow international development secretary Mary Creagh said.
Labour MP for Bolsover Dennis Skinner also questioned why the US knew about the misfire before Britain did.
He blasted: “How can Trident be independent if Donald Trump, who is as thick as two short planks, is given the information when we are not allowed it?”
Mr Fallon continued to cite issues of national security in refusing to disclose details about the incident.
Mr Jones criticised Mr Fallon for “hiding behind security” and urged him to come before the defence select committee.
Stop the War Coalition convener Lindsey German accused Ms May of deliberately misleading Parliament.
She said: “Does anyone seriously believe that she didn’t know the whole story? This is a cover-up about a potentially lethal malfunction.”
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament is demanding an urgent Trident inquiry and question of the legitimacy of the parliamentary vote.
CND general secretary Kate Hudson stormed: “The cover-up continues.
“Michael Fallon has refused to answer why Parliament wasn’t told about the Trident missile crisis and he has rebuffed calls for greater transparency, ignoring an invitation to appear at the defence committee.
“It’s clear the government cannot be trusted to tell MPs and public the truth about the crisis.”
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