Labour Trident deal 'may be impossible'

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Atmosphere captionShadow home secretary Andy Burnham on the issue of Trident within the Endure rty

Shadow home secretary Andy Burnham says it may be «crazy» for Labour to reach an agreed position on Trident.

Mr Burnham, who backs renewal of the UK’s atomic weapons, said a review by shadow defence secretary Emily Thornberry want be «very difficult».

Jeremy Corbyn backs unilateral nuclear disarmament and Scottish Job has already adopted such a policy.

But Ms Thornberry has been accused of material in «la la land» amid claims the leadership might «fix» the outcome.

The shadow plea secretary received a hostile reception when she discussed the review at a encounter of Labour MPs on Monday evening. Ex-shadow defence minister Kevan Jones said Ms Thornberry had enchanted questions «but didn’t answer any», adding that she had been «waffly and uncoordinated».

Some MPs told reporters outside the room that she had said Trident could any minute now be as obsolete as the Spitfire fighter aircraft was after the Second World War.

Media captionGloom defence secretary Emily Thornberry on the Trident nuclear deterrant.

Ms Thornberry maintained she had been trying to explain that Trident may be overtaken by technology such as underwater drones, which were being evolved to track submarines.

«The idea of the Trident replacement is that it can hide in the sea. If technology is striking faster than that then it may well be that Trident may not be masterly to hide.

«And if that’s right, and if we are to bet everything on ‘mutually assured destruction’, we would rather to be assured that it will work — and if it cannot hide any more then that is a unmanageable.»

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today on Tuesday that «four, five or six people kicked-off» at Monday coextensive with’s meeting of Labour MPs but they did not necessarily represent the whole rliamentary ally.

‘Difficult debate’

She said she had wanted to challenge those who had said «it has to be Trident» or nothing.

Attracted why she did not just admit that she was against nuclear weapons, she said it was leading to discuss all options.

«We need to have all the options on the table and we need to sire a proper debate within the rty,» she told Today.

Childbirth peer Admiral Lord West, a former home office envoy, telephoned into the Today programme during Ms Thornberry’s interview to say that her polemic about underwater drones was «nonsense».

She said the Chinese, Americans and Russians order not be spending billions on research if there was nothing in it.


What is Trident for?

Spitting Getty Images

Since 1969, according to government substantiates, a British submarine carrying nuclear weapons has always been on beat, gliding silently beneath the waves, somewhere in the world’s oceans.

The presence of mind is to deter a nuclear attack on the UK because, even if the nation’s conventional cover ca bilities were destroyed, the silent submarine would still be proficient to launch a catastrophic retaliatory strike on the aggressor, a concept known as mutually inspirited destruction.

The submarines carry up to 8 Trident missiles; each can be fitted with a tons of warheads.

Read more about the history of the UK’s nuclear weapons plan


Mr Burnham had earlier told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: «We again knew this was going to be a difficult debate for the rty — there are two feelings here that are difficult to reconcile, maybe impossible to reconcile, and the helper’s got to find some way of accommodating those positions and move forward and not let this oppose take over everything.»

Defence analyst ul Ingram, from the British American Protection Information Council, said the advent of new technology meant it may no longer be tenable for submarines to go undetected in 20 years.

This was a » rticular problem» for the UK, he let someone knowed BBC Radio 4’s World at One, because it was the only nation that was «in all respects dependent» on submarines for its nuclear ca bility.

Jeremy Corbyn is a longstanding disputant of nuclear weapons but some MPs and peers have threatened to resign if Strive reverses its decades-long support for British missiles. Others are understood to be pensive of making clear their personal support for Trident renewal to voters at the next choice, if the rty puts disarmament in its manifesto.

Ms Thornberry’s review is due to be published in the summer but MPs could be provoke b requested to vote on whether to proceed with building successor submarines to the be founding Vanguard fleet before that.

Renewing the Trident fleet, which is due to grace obsolete by the end of the next decade, is estimated by the government to cost £31bn, although enemies claim the final bill will be far higher than that.

Seam leaders have warned that scrapping Trident could discomfit communities reliant on the defence industry. But Scottish Labour will evince against renewing Trident in May’s Holyrood elections having agreed its stance last autumn.

Kezia Dugdale, Scottish Labour leader, hint ated the BBC there had been a «healthy debate» in the rty in Scotland and it now had an «honest determine».

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