I’ve received a number of emails regarding today’s House of Commons debate on Trident and have reproduced my response – which I’ve just sent out – in full below:
Thank you for your recent email regarding today’s debate about investing in a new fleet of submarines armed with trident nuclear weapons.
It is no great secret that I am sceptical about the merits of this course of action. Since I was elected in 2010 I have been a member of the Parliamentary Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and in each session I have signed a succession of Early Day Motions to this effect:
However it is equally well known that my party’s official position is to support trident renewal, albeit subject to consideration as part of a Strategic Defence and Security Review to be held if we are successful in the upcoming General Election. This would consider both cost implications as well as strategic necessities, recognising the role of the defence sector to the UK economy, and concerns around protecting and develop a highly skilled workforce. Our final position would then be put to a vote of parliament in early 2016, which is commonly referred to as the ‘Main Gate’ decision (both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are also committed to a vote at this time).
Today’s vote has been initiated via an ‘opposition day’, whereby one of the parties not in Government gets to choose the subject of the debate, and is not part of any official decision making process. As a consequence this vote will not be interpreted as a substitute for the Main Gate decision, and parliament would have to return to this issue in early 2016 regardless of its outcome. I have therefore chosen to abstain on the vote, and will continue to make the case against renewal to my party colleagues in advance of the Main Gate decision.
I know you may find this response disappointing. I would be more than happy to engage further with constituents on this issue.
Thank you for taking the time to write to me.