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MPs vote to replace Trident nuclear weapons system

Following a debate in the House of Commons, MPs voted to renew the nuclear deterrent.

Trident: The system will be replaced.
Trident: The system will be replaced.

MPs have voted to renew the Trident nuclear weapons system.

Following a debate in the House of Commons, MPs voted 472 to 117 to replace the UK's nuclear deterrent.

The £40bn construction of a new fleet, Successor, could begin this year and be operational by 2028 while the current fleet will be phased out by 2032.

Speaking in the debate, Theresa May said: "We cannot outsource the grave responsibility we shoulder for keeping our people safe. And we cannot abandon our ultimate safeguard out of misplaced idealism.

"That would be a reckless gamble: a gamble that would enfeeble our allies and embolden our enemies.

"A gamble with the safety and security of families in Britain that we must never be prepared to take.

"We have waited long enough, it is time to get on with building our next generation of nuclear deterrent."

Ms May added that the renewal would increase jobs in Scotland, with the number set to rise to over 8000.

Also, when asked by SNP MP George Kereven if she "is prepared to authorise a strike that could kill 100,000 innocent men, women and children", the Prime Minister replied "yes".

In all, 58 of the 59 MPs representing Scottish constituencies voted against renewal. The SNP's 54 members voted against, as did Labour MP Ian Murray, Liberal Democrat Alistair Carmichael and MPs Michelle Thomson and Natalie McGarry who sit as independents. Conservative David Mundell voted in favour.

Jeremy Corbyn, who supports scrapping Trident, allowed Labour MPs a free vote on the issue.

He said: "The funds involved in Trident renewal are massive. We must also consider the complex both moral and strategic issues of our country possessing weapons of mass destruction.

"There is also a question of its utility. Do these weapons of mass destruction, for that is what they are, act as deterrents to what we face and is that deterrent credible?"

Ahead of the vote, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "SNP MPs will vote against the renewal of Trident and I hope Labour MPs will do the same.

"I think it would be unforgivable if we have a Labour Party that splits perhaps three ways on this, instead of taking a principled decision against the renewal of Trident and against the spending of perhaps £200bn on weapons that we know can never be used, that are not the right way to defend us in the modern world.

"I think it would be unforgivable if the principal opposition party didn't provide real opposition today."

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