Labour a threat to national security if it adopts Corbyn’s Trident proposals – Defense Sec

Britain's Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond (C) and Defense Secretary Michael Fallon  inspect Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF)'s biggest warship Izumo in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, Japan. © Issei Kato
Labour could pose a threat to national security if it maintains Jeremy Corbyn’s position on scrapping nuclear warheads, Defense Secretary Michael Fallon has said.

Fallon made the comment during a tour of HMS Vigilant, one of Britain's four submarines that have Trident missiles capped with nuclear warheads.

Dismissing Corbyn's suggestion to keep the submarines but scrap their weapons, Fallon warned such patrols would be pointless.

“If Labour maintains this position, they are clearly a threat to national security. It means we would be less safe under a Labour government. It is extremely dangerous. It is like making imitation rifles,” he said.

Praising Britain’s nuclear deterrent system Trident, Fallon said it is used day and night to keep the country safe.

"We can't be sure what adversaries might be out there in the 2030s, the 2040s, the 2050s," he said.

"We know North Korea exploded a nuclear weapon just two weeks ago. We need to plan ahead."

Corbyn, who is a staunch proponent of disarmament, made headlines on Sunday when he proposed that the UK could send out its submarines without the missiles.

The Labour leader came under fire during Prime Minister’s Questions when David Cameron called the notion of submarines without warheads “absurd,” while Tory backbencher Karl McCartney likened Corbyn's proposal to the Beatles’ song “Yellow Submarine.”

Corbyn's attempt to shift his party's policy on Trident has left him at odds with trade unions as well as many of his MPs who believe opposition to renewal would jeopardize defense sector jobs.

Earlier this month, in a major shadow cabinet reshuffle, he appointed anti-Trident Emily Thornberry as shadow defense secretary. However, the majority of Labour's shadow cabinet remains in favor of renewal.

Britain’s four ballistic nuclear submarines are to be retired in 2028. A parliamentary vote to approve the building of four new submarines, at an estimated cost of £31billion, is expected to be held in coming months.