'BE STATESMANLIKE OVER TRIDENT, CAMERON TOLD'
By Kate Devlin
The Herald – 11 February 2016
The Conservative Chairman of the powerful Commons Defence Committee has urged David Cameron not to delay the crunch Commons vote on Trident just to prolong Labour’s agony on the issue. Dr Julian Lewis urged the Prime Minister to be "statesmanlike" and call the vote as soon as possible. His intervention came as Mr Cameron ridiculed Labour’s position on the nuclear deterrent.
Earlier this week, Shadow Defence Secretary Emily Thornberry compared the ageing nuclear weapons system on the Clyde to Second World War Spitfires. Labour sources insist it was part of a wider discussion on the effect of technology on defence equipment. But Mr Cameron told MPs it
"takes quite a talent to insult Spitfire pilots and our brave submariners all in one go".
Dr Lewis told the Prime Minister that it
"must be tempting",
given the explosive row currently erupting within Labour, to
"put off the vote until Labour’s conference in October. May I urge him, however, to do the statesmanlike thing and hold that vote as soon as possible, because everyone is ready for it",
he said. His views were echoed by the Labour Peer and former head of the Navy, Lord West of Spithead, who said:
"This is too important to score party political votes."
Mr Cameron went on to tell MPs that the vote would take place
"when we need to have the vote".