Labour, Tories crush Trident debate as poll reveals renewal ‘opposed by 60%’

Trident: replacement backed by Westminster

by Reporter

Labour joined the Government to crush a call not to go ahead with the replacement of the Trident nuclear submarine fleet, at a claimed cost of more than £100 bn in the House of Commons tonight.

The surprise move – Labour was expected originally to boycott the debate, which was called by the SNP, Plaid Cymru and Greens – gave the pro-Trident lobby a big margin of 364 to 37 when a vote was called.

The anti-Trident call did win support from 19 Labour MPs (including just six representing Scottish constituencies), four Liberal Democrats and a Tory. plus independents and three Northern Irish MPs.

The pro-Trident argument was led by Defence Secretary Michael Fallon MP, who argued that the fleet would need replacement in the mid 2020s and that the “nuclear deterrent” remained the best option for Britain. A decision confirming the project is planned for 2016, although that will depend on the outcome of this year’s general election.

Fallon’s position was backed by Labour defence spokesman Vernon Croaker MP, backed by the Opposition front bench.

Earlier today, the SNP published a poll showing that a clear majority of Scots oppose the renewal of the Trident nuclear submarine fleet, according to a poll commissioned by the SNP.

The Survation poll question, completed to coincide with a House of Commons debate on the Trident issue today , revealed that 60 per cent of respondents opposed the new generation of Trident nuclear weapons being based on the River Clyde, with 40 per cent in favour, once those who were Don’t Knows were removed from the result calculation.

The SNP said that the poll also revealed:
– Opposition to Trident renewal among women is 68 per cent, and 72 per cent among people aged 16-24.
– Among people who voted Labour in the 2010 General Election opposition is 57 per cent; and among people who voted Labour in the 2011 Holyrood election opposition is 58 per cent.
– In Glasgow, opposition is 70 per cent, and 63 per cent in the West of Scotland. Forty per cent of those who voted No in the independence referendum oppose Trident renewal.

Angus Robertson MP
Angus Robertson MP

Angus Robertson MP, SNP defence spokesperson, commented:

‘’This poll reveals a clear majority who expressed an opinion support the SNP’s position on opposition to the renewal of Trident. It shows a 20-point majority opposed to renewal – with 60 per cent responding they do not want a new generation of Trident nuclear weapons based on the River Clyde.

“Excluding ‘don’t knows’, that includes a majority of those who voted Labour in the Westminster elections of 2010 and for Holyrood in 2011, and a majority among men but particularly among women and young people.

“Opposition to Trident renewal extends across every region of Scotland, but most noticeably in Glasgow where 70 per cent are opposed, and in the West of Scotland where 63 per cent are against its renewal.

Labour had indicated it would boycott today’s debate, which called for a halt on the ongoing preparation worth for Trident replacement, which is still due to be debated and approved by Parliament in 2016. The Ministry of Defence has spent hundreds of millions of pounds on preparatory work, despite widespread unease about renewal.

Labour and Conservatives back renewal of the system, at an estimated lifetime cost of more than £100 billion. The Liberal Democrats think they can save money by order three instead of four replacement submarines.

The debate hosen by the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Greens, was not attended by the Prime Minister or Leader of the Opposition.

MPs voting against Trident renewal (Scottish constituencies in bold):

SNP: Stewart Hosie (Dundee), Angus MacNeil (Na h-Eileanan an Iar), Angus Robertson (Moray), Mike Weir (Angus) and Eilidh Whiteford (Banff & Buchan)

Plaid Cymru: Elfyn Llwyd (Dwyfor Meirionnydd) and Hywel Williams (Arfon)

Green MP Caroline Lucas (Brighton Pavilion)

Labour: Diane Abbott (Hackney North & Stoke Newington), Ronnie Campbell (Blyth Valley), Katy Clark (North Ayrshire & Arran), Michael Connarty (Linlithgow & East Falkirk), Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North), Ian Davidson (Glasgow South West), Paul Flynn (Newport West), Roger Godsiff (Birmingham Sparkbrook & Small Heath), Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North), David Lammy (Tottenham), Mark Lazarowicz (Edinburgh North & Leith), John McDonnell (Hayes & Harlington), Grahame Morris (Easington), Fiona O’Donnell (East Lothian), Dennis Skinner (Bolsover), Andrew Smith (Oxford East), Graham Stringer (Blackley & Broughton), Joan Walley (Stoke-on-Trent North) and Sandra Osborne (Ayr, Carrick & Cumnock).

Conservative: Crispin Blunt (Reigate).

Liberal Democrat: Mike Crockart (Edinburgh West), Andrew George (St Ives), Julian Huppert (Cambridge) and Mark Williams (Ceredigion).

Respect: George Galloway (Bradford East)

Independent: Mike Hancock (Portsmouth South).

SDLP (N Ireland): Mark Durkan (Foyle) and Margaret Ritchie (South Down)

Alliance (N Ireland): Naomi Long (Belfast East).

Survation conducted the poll of Scottish adults aged 16+ from 12-16 January, based on a sample size of 1,006.

Note: This items was updated at 10pm today to include the Commons vote.