A Brighton MP has attacked the handling of a missile failure fired by one of the country’s Trident submarines as a ‘cover up’.
According to national reports during a test involving HMS Vengeance last June one of its unarmed missiles went off course.
Weeks later the majority of MPs backed the renewal of the UK’s nuclear deterrent.
In response the Ministry of Defence has said the HMS Vengeance and its crew were successfully tested last year, and Sir Michael Fallon, Defence Secretary, was hauled before MPs in the House of Commons today (Monday January 23) to answer urgent questions.
Caroline Lucas, Brighton Pavilion MP, said: “He refers to Trident as the independent nuclear deterrent yet the missiles involved in the malfunction were designed, manufactured, and owned by the US with a US guidance system and leasing arrangements.
“So it isn’t an operational issue to tell us whether he has known that the malfunction last year was reported at the time to the US President, nor whether the new president has been briefed about it and nor who decided to cover it up, the UK Government or the US?”
Sir Michael responded: “Let me be very clear that Trident our nuclear is completely operationally independent of the United States and in our country, only the Prime Minister can authorise the firing of these weapons even if they are employed as part of an overall NATO response.”
The Defence Secretary said he had ‘absolute confidence’ in the system.