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Picture: Martin questioning Secretary of State Ben Wallace at Defence Select Committee

West Dunbartonshire’s MP Martin Docherty-Hughes has hit out at the UK Defence Secretary over concerns about the MoD’s handling of its multi-billion pound Trident submarine renewal programme.

During an appearance in front of the Defence Select Committee, Tory Secretary of State Ben Wallace was forced to admit delivery of the UK government’s Astute-class submarine programme would be delayed by almost two years.

The Ministry of Defence informed MPs that the delivery of the new nuclear-powered attack submarine, Audacious, to Faslane naval base has been put back from August 2019 to January 2021.

The UK Defence Secretary acknowledged delays meant that 30 year old Trafalgar-class nuclear-powered submarines would be kept in service for longer, sparking concerns over additional costs for the maintenance of the ageing submarine fleet.

Local SNP MP Martin Docherty-Hughes, who sits on the Defence Select Committee, warned that the costs to taxpayers of the UK’s ‘absurd’ nuclear weapons programme are spiralling out of control.

The MoD’s handling of the renewal of the UK’s Trident nuclear submarines was also criticised by Tory MP Mark Francois, describing ongoing delays as a ‘disaster’ that are ‘costing a fortune’.

Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said:

“As Scotland’s sole representative on the Commons Defence Committee, I am determined to hold this UK government to account over the absurdity of its nuclear weapons programme.

“The renewal of Trident is costing taxpayers billions – money that would be better invested supporting our conventional forces and improving public services.

“Now the UK Defence Secretary has been forced to admit their new nuclear submarine programme is facing even more delays, which will mean spending on Trident spiralling further out of control.

“When even Tory MPs on the Defence Select Committee describe the UK government’s Trident renewal programme as ‘disastrous’, the MoD’s difficulties over these delays are clear.

“With independence, we’ll rid Scotland of the folly of these weapons of mass destruction once and for all.”

Read more at investigative journalism publication The Ferret:

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