British Nuclear-Arms Revamp Seen Losing Labor Party Support

Global Security Newswire Staff
Feb. 3, 2014, 9:49 a.m.

Plans to re­place the Brit­ish sub­mar­ine-based nuc­le­ar de­terrent could be los­ing fa­vor among rank-and-file Labor Party law­makers, the Guard­i­an re­ports.

Brit­ish De­fense Sec­ret­ary Philip Ham­mond re­portedly called on de­fense min­is­ters to seek in­creased uni­on pres­sure on Labor le­gis­lat­ors to sup­port the po­ten­tial re­place­ment of all four Van­guard-class sub­mar­ines that carry Tri­dent bal­list­ic mis­siles, the news­pa­per re­por­ted on Sunday. The “like-for-like” mod­ern­iz­a­tion plan has faced res­ist­ance from the Lib­er­al Demo­crats, which led an ex­plor­a­tion of al­tern­at­ives as the ju­ni­or mem­ber in a co­ali­tion gov­ern­ment headed by Ham­mond’s Con­ser­vat­ive Party.

“The [Con­ser­vat­ives] don’t want Labor hav­ing a wobble on this,” one gov­ern­ment in­sider told the Guard­i­an.

A Labor spokes­man said the party re­mains an ad­voc­ate of full Tri­dent mod­ern­iz­a­tion.

Ham­mond, though, pressed for ship-con­struc­tion uni­ons to in­form Labor politi­cians of their back­ing for the re­new­al plan after he re­ceived in­dic­a­tions that cer­tain party mem­bers were seek­ing a more im­par­tial po­s­i­tion.

The de­fense sec­ret­ary re­com­men­ded seek­ing a strong stance in fa­vor of full re­place­ment from Keep our Fu­ture Afloat, a group tied to a key Labor Party fin­an­cial sup­port­er. A fi­nal de­cision on mov­ing for­ward with mod­ern­iz­a­tion is ex­pec­ted after the 2015 gen­er­al elec­tion.

A Con­ser­vat­ive in­sider said: “We are con­fid­ent that Labor is com­mit­ted to re­pla­cing the de­terrent … un­like the Lib­er­al Demo­crats who want some part-time de­terrent with dummy mis­siles, provid­ing Bri­tain with no se­cur­ity.”

One-time Labor Party De­fense Sec­ret­ary Des Browne, though, said the mod­ern­iz­a­tion plan faces grow­ing doubts from “from all parties and in both houses” of Par­lia­ment.

“In an age of aus­ter­ity where pub­lic spend­ing is re­du­cing, they are much more skep­tic­al,” Browne said. “If any­thing, I am sur­prised that it has taken min­is­ters un­til now to wake up to this change. Few­er politi­cians ac­cept the ar­gu­ments for con­tinu­ous at-sea de­terrence without ques­tion than ever did be­fore.”

What We're Following See More »
Voters Want Medical Records
11 hours ago

Even though they dislike both of them, the American people want to know that its presidential candidates are healthy. "Nearly two-thirds of registered voters think presidential candidates should release details about their medical histories, according to a new Morning Consult poll." In the new poll, 64 percent of Americans say the candidates should release their medical reports, up nine percent from May.

Trump Not on Ballot in Minnesota
1 days ago
Trump on Immigration: ‘I Don’t Know, You Tell Me’
1 days ago

Perhaps Donald Trump can take a plebiscite to solve this whole messy immigration thing. At a Fox News town hall with Sean Hannity last night, Trump essentially admitted he's "stumped," turning to the audience and asking: “Can we go through a process or do you think they have to get out? Tell me, I mean, I don’t know, you tell me.”

Trump Enriching His Businesses with Donor Money
3 days ago

Donald Trump "nearly quintupled the monthly rent his presidential campaign pays for its headquarters at Trump Tower to $169,758 in July, when he was raising funds from donors, compared with March, when he was self-funding his campaign." A campaign spokesman "said the increased office space was needed to accommodate an anticipated increase in employees," but the campaign's paid staff has actually dipped by about 25 since March. The campaign has also paid his golf courses and restaurants about $260,000 since mid-May.

Trump Cancels Rallies
3 days ago

Donald Trump probably isn't taking seriously John Oliver's suggestion that he quit the race. But he has canceled or rescheduled rallies amid questions over his stance on immigration. Trump rescheduled a speech on the topic that he was set to give later this week. Plus, he's also nixed planned rallies in Oregon and Las Vegas this month.