SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has condemned the UK Government for withholding details of a serious malfunction in a Trident test launch last June – just weeks before the vote to renew Trident to the tune of £205bn.
It has been widely reported that during a test launch, an unarmed Trident missile had fired in the wrong direction towards the US coastline.
The major failure was not shared publicly ahead of the vote on Trident renewal.
Commenting, Ms McAlpine said:
“It is deeply worrying that just weeks before the House of Commons voted to renew Trident, the UK government chose to withhold vital information about a serious Trident missile malfunction that raises doubts about the safety of the technology.
“It’s worth pointing out that Dumfries and Galloway would be inside the “kill zone” if there was an accident involving Trident at Faslane or Coulport.
“Each time a missile is tested it costs the taxpayer £17m, and these latest reports demonstrate that not only is Trident obscenely expensive but it is potentially unreliable and unsafe.
“I have written to Oliver Mundell MSP to ask if he agrees with Theresa May’s decision to withhold details of the incident – and whether he backs spending billions on Trident whilst slashing defence spending in other areas in Scotland, with little regard for the economic impact.
“This kind of cover-up sets a dangerous precedent. The SNP will continue to hold the UK Government to account for their lack of transparency and press them for answers on this.”
Text of letter to Oliver Mundell:
You will be aware of reports that the Conservative Government at Westminster withheld information about a serious malfunction in a Trident test launch last year – just weeks ahead of a parliamentary vote on Trident renewal. Theresa May failed to share this information about the incident with MPs despite it raising fundamental questions over the safety of the technology.
The SNP has called for a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding this failed test. I hope you will agree that details on what happened, who knew what and when, and why the House of Commons was kept in the dark, should be published. The lack of transparency on an issue of such importance has set a worrying precedent for the future.
You will also be aware that the UK Government is planning a series of military base closures across Scotland. Do you agree that the UK Government’s preoccupation with the obscenely expensive Trident has been to the detriment of defence spending elsewhere in Scotland?
The UK Government has ignored the opposition of the Scottish Parliament to Trident, and in doing so is completely out of step with both the needs of the country and the views of the international community.
I look forward to receiving your response.
Joan McAlpine MSP