A serious malfunction in Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons deterrent was covered up by Downing Street just weeks before the crucial House of Commons vote on the future of the missile system. The Sunday Times can reveal that a Trident II D5 missile – which can kill millions when armed with nuclear warheads – experienced an alarming failure after being launched from a British submarine off the coast of Florida in June last year. It was the only firing test of a British nuclear missile in four years and raises serious questions about the reliability and safety of the weapons system. The failure prompted a news blackout by Downing Street that has remained in place until this weekend.
Times 22nd Jan 2017 read more »
It was the first big task for the new prime minister, Theresa May. Just five days after entering Downing Street in July last year, she rose to her feet in the House of Commons to propose a motion backing the renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system. “There is no greater responsibility as prime minister than ensuring the safety and security of our people,” she began. “That is why I have made it my first duty in this House to move today’s motion. “For almost half a century, every hour of every day, our Royal Navy nuclear submarines have been patrolling the oceans, unseen and undetected, fully armed and fully ready – our ultimate insurance against nuclear attack.” Implicit in the argument for renewal was the assumption that t he Trident weapons system was reliable and, as a basic minimum, could hit its target. May failed, however, to tell the House a crucial piece of information that had been known to Downing Street and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for four weeks. The Trident weapons system had been tested by a British submarine for the first time in four years. And it had malfunctioned.
Times 22nd July 2017 read more »
Ministers have stood firmly behind the Trident nuclear weapons system after claims of a “disastrous” test malfunction occurred shortly before a crunch Commons vote on the future of the weapon. According to the Sunday Times an unarmed £17m Trident II D5 missile veered off course during a drill off the coast of Florida last June – the first such test for four years. The missile was supposed to reach a sea target off the west of Africa but instead hurtled towards the US.
Politics Home 22nd Jan 2017 read more »
Ministers accused of covering up failed Trident test weeks before vote to renew £40bn nuclear programme
Telegraph 21st Jan 2017 read more »
Mirror 21st Jan 2017 read more »