ANALYSIS

Monday's Trident Debate: What was mentioned, what was left out?

On Monday night, MPs voted 472 to 117 to replace UK’s Trident nuclear weapons system, following a five and half hour Parliamentary debate. The atmosphere was tense; the united SNP benches made an impassioned case against Trident from across the room, while the Conservatives all voted in favour, but for the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee who voted against the motion. Many arguments were aired both for and against Trident. But what kind of arguments did the MPs make?

Voting for Trident before the Scotland question is settled is illogical

Vanguard at Faslane

The UK Parliament will be voting tonight on the principle of replacing Trident nuclear weapons system. It is a symbolic commitment, unconnected to any contracts or procurement timetable. Meanwhile, the government commitment to leave the EU is stoking calls for a second Scottish referendum. As the UK’s nuclear weapons submarines have their only base in Scotland, voting for Trident before coming to an agreement about the UK’s future makes no sense.

NATO’s 2016 Warsaw Summit: symbolism of a mature alliance?

When NATO heads of state and government enter the halls of the National Stadium in  Warsaw for their Summit meeting on Friday, July 8th they will do so with mixed anxieties. They will review the successful implementation of their 2014 Wales Summit commitments, in particular the NATO Readiness Action Plan and the partial reversal of the trend of declining defence budgets.

Brexit: Impact on Trident

Flags

The potential fall-out from the UK vote to leave the EU cannot be over-estimated. The political, economic and constitutional implications are deeply uncertain. The market turmoil and the plunge in the value of the pound will translate into massive financial pressures on government spending. The pressures for constitutional referenda in Scotland and Northern Ireland have just strengthened dramatically.

Commons Vote on Trident Imminent?

House of Commons

Whilst the UK media is relishing the drama over Britain’s leaving the EU, speculation this week suggests the Conservative government may rush a Trident vote through the Commons in July. It would do this to move on from a damaged referendum debate, and divert attention to a deeply divided Labour Party. This is clearly a temptation, but if they do go down this route it would represent an infantile inability to delay gratification for much greater political return later. Trident is a goose that just keeps laying the golden eggs for the Conservatives. An early slaughter would be the height of madness. The clever money is on a vote rather closer to or after the end of the year.