In London, the deputy leader of the House of Commons has resigned over government plans to renew Britain’s Trident nuclear arsenal, due for replacement in 2024. Nigel Griffiths’ departure is reported to be just one aspect of a growing rebellion within Labour ranks over Britain’s nuclear deterrent. “I’ll be telling the House of Commons I’ve been wrestling with my conscience.” He said. “I’ve seen other colleagues wrestle with their conscience and loose perhaps their sense of principles, I was determined not to do that.”
Parliament debates the renewal plans on Wednesday. Although Tony Blair is expected to be deserted by his own anti-nuclear MPs, the opposition Tories support the idea and are expected to push the 30-billion euro package through. Opponents say nuclear defences cannot be justified in a post Cold-War world, a position countered by Blair, who says new threats from North Korea, Iran or nuclear terrorists make it dangerous to abandon the deterrent. There’s deep hostility to Trident – a poll of Labour MPs showed almost two-thirds of those who took part were against the renewal.