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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Theresa May Knew About Trident Test Failure in June Ahead of Program Renewal

Sputnik News

15:40 23.01.2017(updated 19:08 23.01.2017)

UK Prime Minister Theresa May was briefed on June's failed Trident nuclear missile system test after assuming office, a Downing Street spokesperson said Monday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – On Sunday, UK Prime Minister Theresa May, during her appearance on the BBC's Andrew Marr show, refused to say whether she was aware about the misfire which occurred weeks before a House of Commons vote on the future of Trident.

"The Defense Secretary and the Prime Minister are routinely informed when one of these specific demonstration and shakedown operations are planned, and on the outcome of them. In this instance it was obviously in June so it was under the then-Prime Minister. On taking office the current PM was briefed on a range of nuclear issues – including this," the spokesperson said, as quoted by the Mirror newspaper.

The prime minister, who assumed office on July 13, was therefore aware of the test in advance of the July 19 House of Commons vote to approve the renewal of the nuclear weapons system.

The HMS Vengeance test was, however, aimed more at testing the submarine and its crew, the representative added, noting that the submarine passed the test and was back in active service.

The submarine suffered a propulsion malfunction in 2011 and only resumed trials in January last year. The UK Defense Ministry later stated the problem was not nuclear-related.

UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon will appear before the parliament to answer questions about a Trident submarine-launched fleet ballistic missile veering off course in June last year, UK media reported earlier.

May also backed Trident, describing it "the ultimate insurance" and called on lawmakers not to compromise the country's security.

Trident is a nuclear missile system which is used by UK submarines since 1990s. In June 2016, one of the missiles went in a wrong direction towards the United States a few weeks before the UK parliament voted in favor of a long-debated modernization of Trident system. The system has been criticized over its cost. The total estimated cost is 167 billion pounds ($244 billion) over the 32-year lifespan of the system, between 2028 and 2060, according to the International Monetary Fund. Conservative supporters of the Trident renewal point out that over 30,000 jobs are dependent on the Trident fleet.


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