Prime Minister David Cameron wants U.K. lawmakers to vote on whether to renew the country’s nuclear-weapons system on July 18, ordering a parliamentary ballot that may heighten divisions in the main opposition Labour Party.
Cameron, who promised to step down by September after losing a referendum over whether the U.K. should remain in the European Union, said the vote was needed for military planners and companies to start work on the investments needed to replace the nation’s ageing fleet of nuclear submarines.
“It is a manifesto pledge to have a fully-fledged deterrent, a replacement for the four submarines,” Cameron told reporters on Saturday in Warsaw, where he’s attending a NATO summit. “We need certainty about it so that the investment decisions can go ahead.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who faces a revolt among his lawmakers after the Brexit vote, is a long-standing opponent of nuclear weapons. Most members of the Labour parliamentary party want to renew the deterrent, known as Trident.
Cameron sidestepped a question about whether he was trying to exploit divisions in Labour. He said there was no need to wait until after his own party chose his successor, because the Conservatives support Trident’s renewal.
“I do not believe that nuclear weapons actually enhance security: I support the nuclear non-proliferation treaty -- which we are signed up to -- which is trying to bring together collective disarmament,” Corbyn told Sky News, according to the Press Association. “Those are the views that I will be putting forward.”