Trident is Britain’s nuclear weapons deterrent. It consists of four Vanguard-class submarines which can carry up to 16 Trident II D5 ballistic missiles, each armed with up to eight nuclear warheads.
At any time, one submarine is on patrol, one is undergoing maintenance, one is preparing for patrol and one has just come off patrol and is recovering.
Britain has had a Continuous At Sea Deterrence (CASD) since 1969. Trident is currently referred to (in defence speak) as Operation Relentless and is based in the Faslane area of Scotland.
Theresa May has said she would be prepared to authorise a nuclear strike that would kill 100,000 people, as she called on all MPs to back Trident, calling it the ultimate safeguard for British national security. She has told MPs it would be “an act of gross irresponsibility” for the UK to abandon its nuclear weapons.
The prime minister accused critics of the Trident system of being “the first to defend the country’s enemies”.
She said it was “sad” that the Green Party and some members of the Labour party seem to be the “first to defend the country’s enemies.
Mrs May adds that it would be an act of “gross irresponsibility” to not renew our deterrent, adding that Trident “has been an insurance policy for this country for nearly 50 years .”
Jeremy Corbyn said he would not press the nuclear button, adding: “I do not believe the threat of mass murder is a legitimate way to go about international relations.”. He will vote against the government but his party is split, warned of the effect that using an “indiscriminate weapon of mass destruction” could have.
But he faced repeated criticism from his own backbenchers who told him to state Labour’s official policy, which is in favour of renewal.
The Government are today forcing a vote of the issue, which could see more than 100 Labour MPs defy Jeremy Corbyn by supporting the Trident nuclear programme.
The final vote is expected at 10pm this evening and we expect MPs to vote in favor of renewing the nuclear deterrent given that Corbyn, a life long pacifist, has given the PLP a free vote on the issue.
Labour insiders believe that a heavy rebellion could provide much needed momentum to Angela Eagle and Owen Smith, the two MPs challenging Mr Corbyn for the party leadership.
Downing Street wants to use the Trident vote to provide a major boost to Conservative backbenchers ahead of their summer break later this week.
It comes as Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy Leader, has said that if Jeremy Corbyn wins Labour leadership election he is unlikely to be able to form a unified front bench.
Tim Roche, head of the GMB Union said: “I think the leader of the Labour party should get behind the current policies that party espouses.”
There are currently protests taking place against the UK’s nuclear weapons both inside and outside Parliament.