Tom Blenkinsop, MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, has announced he will vote for the creation of a new generation of Trident submarines.
The vote, to endorse the renewal of the Trident system via replacing the current ‘Vanguard Class’ of submarines with a new ‘Successor Class’, will take place this evening.
The issue is highly controversial in the Labour Party as, although it is current Labour Party policy to endorse the renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system, the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is strongly opposed to renewal.
Tom Blenkinsop said:
Today I will vote for Labour Party policy and support the plan to renew the UK’s at sea nuclear deterrent.
I believe Britain maintaining a nuclear capability is key to our security as a nation and therefore provides us with numerous direct and indirect benefits.
It is ridiculous that when there is a clear Labour policy on this issue no one is sure whether our Shadow Defence team and the leader of our party will vote for, against or abstain.
Not only is it policy but this is a policy which was decided by ordinary members at conference. If Jeremy actually believed in party democracy as he claims, and didn’t just support it when it suits him, then he’d be voting with me this evening.
If Jeremy were to join the Shadow Defence Secretary and abstain on one of the most important security votes of the decade it would be just another sorry example of the lack of leadership in the party at the moment.
Thousands of high skilled manufacturing jobs around the UK are reliant on keeping and renewing the system. This factor means that Mr Corbyn, if he were to vote against renewal, would be voting for a measure which would threaten union members’ jobs. This may be food for thought for influential union leaders, such as Unite the Union’s Len McCluskey, who thus far have supported Corbyn’s leadership of the party.
A failure to renew Trident would put thousands of Unite members’ jobs at risk.
Polling suggests union members don’t think Jeremy is the right man to lead Labour and now he is potentially voting for a policy which would make many of them unemployed!
This just shows people like Len McCluskey are so focused on keeping Corbyn they are blind to damage his policies would do to the working people and security of this country.
It is believed that with or without the Labour Leader’s vote the motion to endorse the £31 billion Trident renewal plan will pass and the new generation of nuclear submarines will be in service before 2030.