‘ Eu­nuchs com­plain­ing about cost of vi­a­gra’

>> NEWS: HOW TO JOIN THE BIG GAR­DEN BIRD­WATCH Michael Gove’s colour­ful put- down of Labour uni­lat­er­al­ists in the row over Tri­dent mis­sile tests 84 - 88 Frim­ley High Street, Frim­ley, Sur­rey, GU16 7JE SEE PAGE 8

Star Courier (Surrey & Hants) - - NEWS - By Joshua Smith

TWO MPs in the Star Courier patch used a de­bate on Mon­day on the test fir­ing of a Tri­dent nu­clear mis­sile in June 2016 to fire sev­eral shots of their own.

The Sun­day Times ruf­fled feathers when it claimed at the week­end that a mis­sile veered off course dur­ing test flights in June, weeks be­fore a cru­cial Com­mons vote on Tri­dent’s fu­ture.

MPs voted in July to spend £ 40 bil­lion re­plac­ing the nu­clear de­ter­rent.

Ke­van Jones, Labour MP for North Durham, asked Sec­re­tary of State for De­fence Michael Fal­lon to make a state­ment on the test fir­ing of a Tri­dent nu­clear mis­sile in June 2016.

Speak­ing dur­ing the de­bate on Mon­day, Sur­rey Heath MP Michael Gove said: “Does my right hon. Friend agree that in­vest­ment in our con­tin­u­ous at- sea nu­clear de­ter­rent has not only bought us peace since 1968 and the pro­tec­tion of western Europe, but is con­gru­ent with our po­si­tion as a per­ma­nent five mem­ber of the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil; and is it not the case that the uni­lat­er­al­ists on the op­po­si­tion benches who are com­plain­ing to­day are in the po­si­tion of eu­nuchs com­plain­ing about the cost of vi­a­gra?”

Sec­re­tary of State for De­fence Michael Fal­lon replied that he agreed ‘ with all three of my right hon. Friend’s propo­si­tions.’

Alder­shot MP Sir Ger­ald Howarth said: “I wel­come the gov­ern­ment’s ap­proach and thank my right hon. Friend for his re­as­sur­ance about the ef­fec­tive­ness of the Tri­dent sys­tem.

“Will he con­firm that there have been 160 suc­cess­ful fir­ings of the mis­sile?

“Surely that should re­as­sure the Bri­tish peo­ple rather more than the prospect of the leader of the op­po­si­tion hav­ing his fin­ger on the but­ton.”

Mr Fal­lon said: “The House might want to know that the demon­stra­tion and shake­down op­er­a­tion is crit­i­cal at in­ter­vals for demon­strat­ing the ef­fec­tive­ness of the de­ter­rent.

“It com­prises a com­pre­hen­sive se­ries of sys­tem and sub- sys­tem tests, and it pro­vides a pe­riod of in­ten­sive train­ing for the sub­ma­rine’s crew. It eval­u­ates the com­plex weapons sys­tem in­volved in Tri­dent, in­clud­ing the per­for­mance of the crew, and it con­cludes each time with an un­armed mis­sile fir­ing. HMS Vengeance suc­cess­fully con­cluded that shake­down op­er­a­tion.”

MP Michael Gove made his point in colour­ful style.

Sir Ger­ald Howarth.

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