UK Politics

Labour MPs 'expose anti-Trident myths'

HMS Vengeance Image copyright PA

Labour MPs have stepped up pressure on leader Jeremy Corbyn over Trident with a report claiming arguments against its renewal are based on "myths".

The backbench defence committee report is a rival to one being drawn up by shadow defence secretary Emily Thornberry to decide party policy.

Labour's MPs are deeply divided over whether the UK should renew its nuclear weapons system.

Committee chairman John Woodcock is a vocal critic of Jeremy Corbyn.

The 65-page report, which contains contributions from former defence chiefs, ministers, historians and other experts, dismisses the case for getting rid of the submarine-based nuclear missiles as being based on "myth, science fiction and gross inaccuracies".

'Buck Rogers'

It says it would be "bizarre" for the UK to get rid of its nuclear arsenal at a time when Russian aggression meant the international environment was becoming more dangerous.

And it lists "common myths" about Trident - including a "highly exaggerated" warning by Ms Thornberry that underwater drones or cyber attacks will render it useless.

MPs are due to vote on Trident in the next few weeks, with many Labour MPs gearing up to vote with the government for renewal.

Ms Thornberry's defence review is widely expected to back Jeremy Corbyn's long-term opposition to Trident renewal.

Mr Woodcock, whose Barrow-in-Furness constituency contains the shipyard where the Trident-armed Vanguard-class submarines were built, said: "Voting to maintain the UK's nuclear deterrent by replacing its ageing submarines is a vital strategic decision which must be based on accurate information rather than the myths, science fiction and gross inaccuracies that have dominated the debate of late.

"This report is based on the widest available evidence, collected from the leading experts in their fields and will hopefully be of use to Labour members and MPs in the face of sustained efforts to muddy the waters with inaccurate figures and Buck Rogers-style scare stories dressed up as military expertise."

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