TORY leaders were “stupid” in trying to cover up the misfiring of a Trident missile during a test session because it damaged the government, a former sea lord and a senior academic told Parliament yesterday.
Defence expert Professor Michael Clarke told the Commons defence committee that there had been no need for Defence Secretary Michael Fallon’s reticence when he was questioned in Parliament on Monday about the missile self-destructing off the Florida coast in June.
In July MPs — mainly Tories — voted to renew the Trident nuclear weapons system at a cost of £205 billion. It emerged on Monday that former prime minister David Cameron and PM Theresa May both knew about the misfire.
Prof Clarke said: “It’s not the failure that does the damage but the cover-up … it doesn’t undermine the deterrent but damages the government.”
Former First Sea Lord and chief of Naval staff Lord West suggested it might be easier to “call Mr Putin” to find out what happened, claiming the Russian president owed him a favour.
He said it had been an “inconceivable” suggestion that Mr Cameron did not know about the misfire.
Lord West condemned the advice of government special advisers (spads) to cover up the incident as “stupid and foolhardy.”
He described his encounter with a spad, who he described as “a spotty youth from university who thought they knew more about counterterrorism than I did.”
Lord West told the committee: “If anyone thought that this [misfire] wouldn’t come out, they are living in cloud-cuckooland” nThree anti-nuclear activists from the Faslane peace camp were arrested yesterday morning after they blocked traffic at the nuclear base in Scotland.
They were taken to Clydebank prison and are expected to be released today.
We need your support to keep running. If you like what you read please donate by clicking here