DEFENCE Secretary Michael Fallon has vowed to “not let any coalition of the SNP and leftwing Labour” stop the UK Government from replacing the Trident nuclear deterrent.
In his speech to the Tory conference in Manchester, Mr Fallon said he would be “asking MPs of all parties” to back the replacement of the deterrent based at Faslane and warning that it was essential for the UK’s long term security.
The biggest investment decision this Parliament will have to take is to replace the ballistic missile submarines that provide our nuclear deterrent.Michael Fallon
Mr Fallon wants four new submarines to replace the Vanguard class submarines which are due to go out of service.
And a vote is expected midway through next year on the final decision to invest in the deterrent which should be in place for at least 40 years.
The issue has come to the fore since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader who has made it clear he wants his party to ditch the UK’s nuclear capability.
Mr Corbyn also said that if his party rejected this position or there was a vote to replace the deterrent that he, as Prime Minister, would not press the button sparking fury in his shadow cabinet.
In Westminster the SNP have led the attack on the UK “having weapons of mass destruction” based in Scotland claiming it is against the will of Scotland.
In a broadside against Mr Corbyn, the defence secretary said: “Labour’s approach couldn’t be more different – or more dangerous. How did they respond to their election defeat?
“By electing a leader who would weaken our national security – who would scrap Trident, leave NATO, and can’t think of circumstances in which he would use our Armed Forces.”
Later he said: “The biggest investment decision this Parliament will have to take is to replace the ballistic missile submarines that provide our nuclear deterrent.
“For 46 years our deterrent has been deployed every hour of every day. Anyone thinking of ending this unbroken patrol has to be absolutely certain that no nuclear threats will emerge in the 2030s, 2040s and 2050s.”
He added: “I’m not prepared to take that gamble so we will ask MPs of all parties to put national security first and support building four new ballistic missile submarines.
“And we won’t let any coalition of left-wing Labour MPs and the SNP stop us.”