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MPs vote for Trident renewal amid Labour split

Published 18/07/2016

Theresa May has signalled her support for the UK's nuclear deterrent
Theresa May has signalled her support for the UK's nuclear deterrent

The Commons voted overwhelmingly to renew the Trident nuclear deterrent system as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was angrily condemned by his own MPs for opposing the measure.

MPs voted by 472 votes to 117 in support of a Government motion to replace the ageing Vanguard submarine fleet carrying the missiles with four new vessels.

The overwhelming victory came after Theresa May, in her first Commons speech as Prime Minister, confirmed she would be prepared to authorise a nuclear strike if necessary.

Mr Corbyn, a long-standing opponent of nuclear weapons, came under fire from his backbenchers over his opposition to Trident and the replacement of the Vanguard boats.

Labour split three ways, with the majority of the party's MPs voting in favour of renewing the Trident system - in line with the opposition's official policy - while others abstained or, like Mr Corbyn, opposed the motion.

Mr Corbyn repeated his position that he would not be prepared to press the nuclear button if he was in Number 10, arguing that threatening "mass murder" was not the way to handle international relations.

But a series of Labour MPs lined up to challenge him about his support for unilateral disarmament in the latest public sign of discontent over his leadership.

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