Hackney’s MPs walked through opposite voting lobbies in Parliament last night after the Government called a vote on the future of UK’s nuclear deterrent to exploit division in the Labour Party.
Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, joined 46 other Labour MPs in opposing the renewal of Trident while Meg Hiller, MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch voted with the government on the successful motion.
After more than five hours of debate, MPs voted in favour of renewal by a majority of 355.
However, the vote was seen by many as a political manoeuvre to highlight Labour Party splits by former Prime Minister David Cameron, as the decision does not put into motion any renewal plan or allocate funding.
Labour’s MPs were split three-way on the vote, with 140 voting in favour of Trident renewal, 47 supporting their leader Jeremy Corbyn in voting against and 41 abstaining or absent.
Supporting Trident was the Labour party’s official policy at the last general election, when these MPs were elected, so those voting in favour of the renewal of Trident were toeing their party’s agreed line.
Ms Abbott, who is currently shadow health secretary in Mr Corbyn’s depleted shadow cabinet, has been a long-standing critic of the UK’s nuclear missile defence programme.
She said: “The cost of renewing Trident is truly enormous, estimated to be near £167 billion. Even at the lower estimate, this is over £2,500 for every woman, man and child in this country.”
“If this sum were used to fund public investment it could help to transform the current economic crisis and significantly raise living standards.”
“The Tory party decision to bring forward a vote on Trident is rank hypocrisy. It is baffling that the Tories would choose to prioritise a useless non-independent weapon that we will never use. Surely following Brexit, the public has little time for immature Westminster games.”