Trident Renewal Opposition Day in Parliament

February 2015

There was a debate in Parliament Tuesday 20th January 2015.

The motion was:
That this House believes that Trident should not be renewed

The majority of MPs voted against the motion, 364. 37 voted for Roger Godsiff voted “Ayes” to the motion being the only West Midland MP to do so.

Here are some points voiced taken out from the lengthy debate by the MPs who voted for the motion:

Roger Godsiff (Birmingham, Hall Green) (Lab):

…..“I have always believed that NATO is the most successful mutual defence pact in history”……

……“I am one of the people who regret the change in strategy that resulted in NATO becoming the world’s policeman. That was dangerous, and it has put enormous strain on NATO, but it is still an effective mutual defence pact. I shall argue that that is how we get our security, rather than with the mythical idea that we have an independent nuclear deterrent”….

…..”The UK does not own the missiles on its submarines. It leases Trident II D5 missiles from the United States”…… “I would say that we are totally dependent on America”.
……”We acquired these weapons from the USA”.

…….”I would argue that we are far better off maintaining and developing our conventional forces”…..

……”I also believe that the greatest threat to this country comes not from other countries but from groups, some of which operate outside this country but some of which operate within this country. In a choice between spending money on conventional weapons and improving our international security of committing £100 billion to a mythical so called independent deterrent, I know which I would choose. That is why I will be voting against my party and in favour of the motion”.

Caroline Lucas (Brighton, Pavilion) (Green):

…..“The former British armed forces head described nuclear weapons as “completely useless” and “virtually irrelevant””.

…..”If he (Mr MacNeil) believes that nuclear weapons are so essential to our security, will he tell us whether he agrees that it is legitimate and logical for every country in the world to seek to apply them? Yes or no?”

…….”Let me begin with the legal reasons. I believe that using Trident would be illegal. That is what the International Court of Justice concluded about nuclear weapons in its advisory opinion of 1996, an opinion that reflected international humanitarian law and the principle that states must never use weapons that are incapable of distinguishing between civilian and military targets. Even more specifically, that is the opinion of lawyers from Matrix Chambers who were asked for their judgment on two separate occasions; and who determined in both instances that

“The use of the Trident system would breach customary international law”,

in particular, under article 2(4) of the UN Charter. The same lawyers found:

“Renewal or replacement of Trident at the same capability is likely to be inconsistent
with Article VI” of the non-proliferation treaty, to which the UK has been a signatory since 1968. … nations with nuclear weapons should seek to negotiate them away in all earnestness”…….

Crispin Blunt (Reigate) (Con):

……”I think the nature of surveillance under the sea will make the future generation of submarines much more discoverable than present science suggests ……”

Voted against the motion:

Sir Nick Harvey (North Devon) (LD):

……”I believe that we should be willing to build some more submarines at this time “.

“ The US has developed a means of firing conventional weapons through their missile tubes, and it has used those submarines in a tactical role and in support of special forces operations”. …..“we must ensure that they are capable of performing other functions, as the United States has done with its large submarines.”


Here is what Ekklesia wrote on 28th Jan 2015:

Though the recent cross-party attempt to gain a House of Commons vote
against the £100 billion renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons
system was defeated by the Conservative-led Government, with support
from a number of Labour MPs, important points were put on the record
about the humanitarian and environmental impact of these WMDs. As well
as being available on Hansard, this has been helpfully documented by
ICAN UK, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. Angus
Roberston MP (SNP), Joan Ruddock MP (Labour) and Jeremy Corbyn MP
(Labour) all referred to their own participation at the Vienna
Conference on the Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons, held in
December 2014 and attended by 157 countries, including representatives
of the UK. “The issue of Trident replacement comes at a time when
the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons are being taken
seriously by the international community”, said Angus Robertson.
“The overwhelming majority of countries attended the international
conference on the subject hosted by the Austrian Government… which
had a huge impact, forcing attendees to confront the calamity of what
would actually happen should there be a planned or unintended nuclear
explosion. The UK and other countries need to give a commitment that
they will take this issue seriously”. He went on to ask, “Will the
Government ensure that the issues raised at the Vienna conference are
discussed at the meeting of the P5 nuclear weapons states in
Also, you can see on National CND website who voted what and who were absent.