Poll: Northern Ireland should host Trident nuclear weapons, says DUP MP - Do you agree?
DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson has told the Prime Minister that Northern Ireland is willing to play host to the controversial Trident nuclear weapons programme.
Mr Donaldson made the remark during a debate in the House of Commons yesterday, in which David Cameron outlined the government’s £178bn defence-spending plans for the next decade.
The DUP MP’s offer followed comments by SNP Moray MP Angus Robertson, who said an overwhelming majority of MPs and civic organisations, including churches and the Scottish Trade Union Congress, are opposed to Trident.
“What kind of family of nations with a respect agenda imposes something on one of its members against its will,” he asked.
Taking to his feet, Mr Donaldson said: “With support for the Union in Northern Ireland growing ever stronger, may I help to assuage the concerns of the Right Honourable Member for Moray by saying that we have lots of loughs and lots of ports, and that if the Government ever need a new home for Trident, Ulster is there.”
However, the leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland, Steven Agnew, last night branded Mr Donaldson’s comments “arrogant”.
“I think it is ridiculous that Jeffrey Donaldson is making such a statement, particularly given the fact there has been no public consultation on the matter,” he said.
“To make such a bold statement on behalf of Northern Ireland on an issue on which there has never been any consultation or public debate is arrogant. No political party is in a position to do that.”
The Government yesterday disclosed the price tag for replacing the Royal Navy’s ageing fleet of Trident nuclear submarines could rise to as much as £40 billion.
The Stormont Assembly is due to debate a Sinn Fein motion on the cost of the Trident nuclear weapons programme today.
Yesterday’s Strategic Defence and Security Review also set out plans for two new Army 5,000-strong “strike brigades” capable of deploying rapidly around the world, as well as an additional £12bn of equipment funding.
They will form part of a joint sea, land and air expeditionary force totalling 50,000 by 2025, compared to the current commitment of 30,000.
Up to 10,000 troops will also be made available for swift deployment to support police in dealing with terror attacks of the kind seen earlier this month in Paris.
Belfast Telegraph Digital