UK government covers up nuclear test disaster | Opposition demand answers

  • By Heyami Alghatta

UK opposition demand answers after failed nuclear war head test


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The Labour Party and the Scottish National Party are urging the government to give a full explanation to MPs on how a test firing of a Trident nuclear missile went so wrong.

The unarmed missile reportedly veered considerably off course a few weeks before MPs, whom were not informed of the disastrous test, voted to renew the nuclear weapons system.

The Ministry of Defence says submarine HMS Vengeance and its crew were “successfully tested”.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said it was “extremely worrying” Parliament had not been told of June’s incident.

Nia Griffith, Labour’s shadow defence secretary, is calling for the prime minister to give “a full explanation” to MPs later.

Lying in such a blatant way about a failure which if had been a live war head could have killed millions of innocent people is something that has caused a great deal of alarm and distrust over the ruling government.


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Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, a long-standing opponent of the Trident nuclear weapons program, whose submarines are based at Faslane, on the River Clyde, called the apparent misfire a “hugely serious issue”.

The SNP leader tweeted: “There should be full disclosure of what happened, who knew what/when, and why the House of Commons wasn’t told.”

The Royal Navy has carried out half a dozen such tests since 2000 and in the past has publicised successful launches, but this time did not.

HMS Vengeance, one of the UK’s four Vanguard-class submarines, returned to sea for trials in December 2015 after a £350m refit, which included the installation of new missile launch equipment and upgraded computer systems.

According to the Sunday Times, the unarmed Trident II D5 missile was intended to be fired 5,600 miles (9,012 km) from the coast of Florida to a sea target off the west coast of Africa, but instead veered TOWARDS the civilian populated mainland USA. If armed the the war head would have killed millions.


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In July, days after Theresa May had become prime minister following David Cameron’s resignation, MPs backed the £40 bn renewal of Trident by 472 votes to 117.

During the debate, May told MPs it would be “an act of gross irresponsibility” for the UK to abandon its nuclear weapons.

However ALL 52 SNP MPs voted against it, as did 47 Labour MPs, including party leader Jeremy Corbyn.


Questioned by the BBC’s Andrew Marr on Sunday, Prime Minister Theresa May refused four times to say whether she had known about the test firing ahead of the vote.


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H.Alghatta@theinternational.org.uk

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