Labour 'committed to Trident'
Labour move to reassure pro-nuclear voters after Tory accusation of SNP deal
The Labour party has reinforced its commitment to renewing Britain's Trident nuclear weapon system, after the Conservative Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the party were prepared to do a deal with the SNP on scrapping it.
Fallon wrote in the The Times that Labour leader Ed Miliband was "a man so desperate for power he is ready to barter away our nuclear deterrent in a backroom deal with the SNP", adding he was “willing to stab the United Kingdom in the back to become prime minister”, but Shadow defence secretary Vernon Coaker told BBC Radio dismissed the comment as "smear" and said Britain's national security was not up for negotiation. "We are committed to continuous-at-sea-deterrent," he said.
The Conservatives and Labour are both committed to replacing the UK's four ageing nuclear submarines, while the Liberal Democrats want to reduce the fleet to three. SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has said scrapping the renewal is a "red line" issue for her party in future negotiations should Labour need the support of SNP MPs to form a government.
"We all know that Trident is morally unjustifiable, but at a time when the Westminster parties are all committed to forcing yet more austerity on us after the election Trident is economically indefensible," she told an anti-Trident rally at the weekend.
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament claim the majority of the public and candidates standing in the General Election oppose Trident renewal. "Repeated polls show a majority of the British public oppose Trident replacement and a massive 81 per cent of parliamentary candidates surveyed said they would vote against Trident replacement if elected," said General Secretary Kate Hudson. Work by independent social research organisation NatSen, meanwhile, suggests the opposite:
The rollout of the strategy, which follows on from a similar plan that covered the 2011-2016 period, is the responsibility of the Cabinet Office
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