The Prime Minister is under pressure to admit what she knew about a Trident missile misfiring that took place three weeks before a parliamentary vote on renewing the system.
By Tom Peck
Independent Online – 22 January 2017
Prime Minister Thceresa May is under pressure to admit what she knew about the misfiring of an unarmed Trident missile, three weeks before a parliamentary vote on whether to renew Britain's flagship nuclear deterrent system.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called the incident a “pretty catastrophic error” telling Sky News:
“We understand the Prime Minister chose not to inform Parliament, and instead it came out through the media. It's a pretty catastrophic error when a missile goes in the wrong direction and while it wasn't armed, goodness knows what the consequences of that could have been.”
The Labour leader repeated his longstanding belief that the country should commit to nuclear disarmament. Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“This is a hugely serious issue. There should be full disclosure of what happened, who knew what/when, and why House of Commons wasn't told.”
A number of MPs have said Defence Secretary Michael Fallon should make a statement to the commons on the incident on Monday. Nia Griffith, Labour's Shadow Defence Secretary, said:
“This report of a Trident missile veering off course during a test is clearly a very serious matter indeed, and we need to know exactly what happened. Furthermore, it is completely unacceptable that today the Prime Minister chose to side-step questions on the test, and would not even tell us when she knew about the incident. I am demanding the Prime Minister come to Parliament tomorrow to give a full explanation to MPs.”
Labour peer and former senior Royal Navy officer Admiral Lord West added it was “bizarre and stupid” to not tell anyone about the test.
On the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday morning, the Prime Minister refused to answer four separate questions on whether she knew about the incident prior to the parliamentary vote.
“I have absolute faith in our Trident missiles. It was about whether or not we should renew Trident, whether we should look to the future and have a replacement Trident.
“I think we should defend our country, I think we should play our role in NATO with an independent nuclear deterrent. Jeremy Corbyn thinks differently.”
Dr Julian Lewis, who is chair of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee, told Sky News that Theresa May couldn't be blamed for any sort of cover up over the issue.
“These sort of things are observed by very many people,”
“It is surprising really that it has taken this long for this story to come out.
“I don't think one can blame Theresa May, [if there was a cover up], it will have been in place for a month before she became Prime Minister.”
He added that the Cameron administration had a
“bad record of playing politics with the nuclear deterrent.
“The vote was put off as a love gift for the Liberal Democrats, who are against it, and then it was put off again in February in order to embarrass the Labour Party. When Cameron knew he was leaving it was brought forward, then the leadership context came to an end quickly, so it ended up being the first thing Theresa May did, not the last thing Cameron did.”