Wales politics

Trident vote a 'crude stunt to expose Labour's divisions'

Nuclear submarine HMS Vanguard Image copyright PA

A vote on plans to upgrade Britain's Trident nuclear deterrent system is a "stunt designed to expose divisions in the Labour party", Shadow Welsh Secretary Paul Flynn has said.

MPs will vote on Monday on a UK government plan to renew the ageing weapons system.

It is opposed by the SNP, Plaid Cymru and some Labour MPs.

Tory MP David Davies said discussions on Trident cannot be put on hold while Labour "sort themselves out".

In Wales, the Pontypridd MP and Labour leadership contender Owen Smith has said he would vote to support the renewal of Trident, which is based on the Clyde in Scotland.

This puts him at odds with the current party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Mr Flynn has previously called Trident a "sinful waste of money".

Renewing the weapons would cost billions of pounds.

Image caption Paul Flynn said the vote is "about posturing and playing party political games".

Mr Flynn told BBC Wales: "This is a crude political stunt designed to expose divisions in the Labour Party.

"This is not about retaining an expensive but unusable virility symbol. It's about posturing and playing party political games.

"Labour's free vote will avoid political damage."

Image caption David Davies said Labour's problems "show no sign of ending any time soon"

But David Davies, Conservative MP for Monmouth, said: "We have been talking about Trident for ages. We are going to have to have a vote on it at some point.

"The Labour party has had internal problems for what seems to be quite some time. They show no sign of ending any time soon.

"We can't put the discussion about the nation's defences on hold while we wait for the Labour party to sort themselves out."

The SNP has said that the Trident renewal plans "need more scrutiny".

The party's Westminster group leader Angus Robertson said "neither the Tories nor Labour are in any fit state to be giving proper scrutiny to decisions as important as this."

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said: "The UK's independent nuclear deterrent is the ultimate guarantee of our nation's safety which is why the government is committed to maintaining it.

"We estimate costs will amount to around 0.2% per year of government spending - a small price to pay to ensure the security of British citizens."

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