Trident is no longer needed

I was one of 19 Labour MPs who voted against the new generation of Trident nuclear weapons system.

I believe in strong defence for our country and always support our armed forces, but I have always believed nuclear weapons are unjustifiable.

They cannot be used simply against military targets. The use of even a single nuclear weapon would slaughter huge number of civilians. They only have one function and that is wiping out entire cities at a hit.

In any case, they are outdated. The real threat to this country comes from cyber warfare, terrorism, climate change and epidemics.

Replacing the submarines alone is now estimated to have a £25bn price tag. The total cost could reach £100bn over 25 years.

For the cost of Trident, you could pay the tuition fees of every student in the country for the next 30 years, employ 150,000 new nurses and teachers for the same period.

Unfortunately, my own party’s official stance is to support Trident as a ‘cornerstone’ of Britain’s defence. That ignores the fact that the old Cold War threat from the former Soviet Union no longer exists and the UK no longer needs nuclear weapons.

It is also rubbish to suggest that Trident gives Britain an independent deterrent – we are so technically dependent on the US that the missiles are serviced at a port in the state of Georgia and warhead components are also American-made.

We cannot afford to squander billions of pounds on a weapons system that by general consent can never be used.