Defence Secretary to confirm £640m Trident nuclear submarines investment


A further £640 million of investment in the new generation of submarines carrying the UK's nuclear deterrent is set to be confirmed by Michael Fallon before MPs have had a crucial vote on the project.

The Defence Secretary will tell MPs he is pressing ahead with work to replace the four ageing Vanguard-class submarines, with an announcement of investment on "long lead" items for the first of the new boats and funding for facilities at the shipyard in Barrow.

The announcement, expected to be confirmed in a written Commons statement, comes ahead of a speech at the Scottish Conservative Conference, where Mr Fallon is expected to target Labour's divisions over the nuclear deterrent.

Some £642 million is expected to be spent in the latest stage of building the replacement system, with £346 million to improve the BAE Systems facility in Barrow and work on the propulsion system at Rolls-Royce in Derby.

Other elements of the programme expected to be covered by the announcement include work on the missile compartments which will house the nuclear weapons.

At the Scottish Conservative conference on Friday, Mr Fallon is expected to attack Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's opposition to the nuclear deterrent. 

"Labour argue this is a political virility symbol that we would never use. They couldn't be more wrong. Our nuclear deterrent provides the ultimate guarantee of our security and our way of life," the Defence Secretary will say.

"We use it every day - to deter a nuclear attack, nuclear blackmail and extreme threats that cannot be countered by any other means. Labour claims that there is no-one to deter. That is simply wrong."

In February, Labour deputy leader Tom Watson urged the Government to call a vote on Trident as quickly as possible - declaring that enough MPs would defy Mr Corbyn to back renewal.

Mr Watson said it is important to give "certainty" to defence manufacturers, allies and enemies that Britain will keep its nuclear deterrent despite the Labour leader's trenchant opposition.