Liberal Democrats in Gateshead have expressed their disappointment that Blaydon MP Dave Anderson voted with Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron in the House of Commons to replace the Trident nuclear submarines.
The vote on Wednesday 14th March saw Labour split between those who wanted a decision on building new Trident submarines put back until after international talks aimed at cutting nuclear weapons in 2010 and those who wanted an immediate decision on replacing the submarines.
The government’s decision to press ahead with a decision was supported by the Conservatives but 94 Labour MPs voted against.
“I am disappointed that Mr Anderson voted with Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron whilst so many of his colleagues took a principled stand against the government,” said Councillor Jonathan Wallace, who represents Whickham South and Sunniside in Blaydon constituency.
“There are crucial international talks coming up in 2010 that could lead to cuts in nuclear weapons throughout the world and stop countries developing their own weapons.
“But taking a decision now to replace the Trident submarines will send all the wrong signals to other countries.
“If Britain is prepared to spend billions on a new nuclear weapon system now, it will encourage countries such as Iran to press forward with development of their own weapon systems.
“Liberal Democrats voted against the government because we believe the decision to replace now could undermine the international talks.
Lib Dem Councillor Peter Maughan said, “Once those talks have taken place we can see whether there is sufficient progress during the next decade towards nuclear disarmament to decide if Britain needs to continue as a nuclear armed country.
“By voting now for replacement, Mr Anderson and his colleagues have put the talks at risk.”
Councillor Wallace was one of the key figures in the Liberal Democrats who worked at the recent party conference to persuade members to vote for a policy of taking the decision on renewing Trident in the next decade.