WESTMINSTER, UK — On June 20th, lawmakers in the House of Commons have voted to renew the United Kingdom’s nuclear defence programme – Trident, at an apparent cost of £31 billion, according to government predictions.
MPs voted 472 to 117 in favour of the manufacturing of four replacements for the current Vanguard-class submarines based at HMNB Clyde, 62km away from Glasgow.
The Labour Party was split on the issue with many party MPs defying their leader, Jeremy Corbyn – a lifelong advocate for nuclear disarmament with 60% of the party voting in favour of renewal.
Corbyn faced a vote of no confidence last month with only 40 Labour MPs backing their leader. Jeremy Corbyn now faces a leadership contest against former shadow Secretary for Work and Pensions, Owen Smith and former shadow First Secretary of State, Angela Eagle. Both Smith and Eagle resigned from the shadow cabinet last month.
Addressing the Commons, Corbyn said, “We are talking, Mr Speaker, about 40 warheads, each one with a capacity to kill more than a million people. What is the threat we are facing, that over a million people’s deaths actually deters?”
The debate was the first time that newly appointed Prime Minister, Theresa May had addressed parliament. She said, “Mr Speaker, there is no greater responsibility as Prime Minister than ensuring the safety and security of our people. That is why I have made it my first duty in this house to move today’s motion so that we can get on with the job of renewing an essential part of our national security for years to come.”
The Scottish National Party strongly opposed Trident’s renewal calling the use of nuclear weapons “immoral” and argued that it’s renewal only furthered a move for Scottish independence.