Labour should change Trident renewal policy, shadow minister says

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Labour should change its policy to renew the UK's nuclear deterrent, a shadow minister has said.

Fabian Hamilton recalled voting against Trident renewal with almost 50 colleagues, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, in July 2016.

He said those who opposed the motion were left "pretty angry" about the way Prime Minister Theresa May brought the Commons vote, which highlighted splits in the Opposition.

Mr Hamilton told a fringe event at the Labour conference in Brighton: "The majority of Labour MPs voted to renew Trident.

"It's party policy. I think we need to change but that's my personal view, that's not the frontbench view."

The Commons vote saw MPs back the replacement of the existing submarine fleet carrying the missiles with four new Successor submarines.

Renewal of the submarines for the continuous-at-sea deterrent is predicted to cost £31 billion, with a £10 billion contingency fund also set aside.

Mr Hamilton also said the Foreign Office's top diplomat Sir Simon McDonald has backed Labour's proposal for a minister for peace and disarmament - a role he performs in opposition for Labour albeit without a direct counterpart to shadow in the Government.

He said shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry was involved in a meeting with Sir Simon just days before the general election, adding this was part of the routine process of civil servants and the Opposition discussing what would happen if they won.

Mr Hamilton, on when the idea was put to Sir Simon, said: "McDonald's reply was 'brilliant, that's a really good idea'."

The MP said this was because the Government has "sidelined" the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the UK's soft power, adding many of the country's diplomats want Britain to lead the world in de-escalating conflict.