Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon refused to elaborate on what happened when a Trident missile was tested last June. This has sparked controversy and piled pressure on the British government.
The test which was according to a Sunday Times, Royal Navy source malfunctioned, was neither confirmed or denied by Fallon in parliament on Monday, claiming it was important not to divulge details of tests for national security reasons.
A succession of questions from Labour, SNP, and Conservative MPs trying to get at the important issue of why they were not told about the failed test before the vote to renew the system and Britain’s nuclear deterrent at a cost of £40bn. Fallon refused to answer.
CNN Report Piles on Pressure
As he was in the eye of the parliamentary storm, a US official told CNN that the missile was forced to self-destruct. The unarmed missile was fired off the coast of Florida, and due to hit a target off the coast of West Africa. Instead, it flew in the opposite direction towards America.
According to the CNN report, the missile was diverted into the ocean after the electronics detected a malfunction which it was designed to do.
Labour’s Mary Creagh seeking to press home the CNN angle asked Fallon, “Should we believe the US official who, while we have been sitting here, has confirmed to CNN that the missile auto-self-destructed off the coast of Florida? If that is the case, why is the British parliament and the British public the last people to know?”
Fallon like Prime Minister Theresa May in a BBC TV interview broadcast on Sunday, refused to answer the question making their position look shaky in the face of cover up allegations.
Theresa May, when questioned at the despatch box, has garnered a reputation for not answering questions that will embarrass the government but to retort with pointless insulting one-liners, or evade the question completely.
Royal Navy sources confirmed that the missile did malfunction and that it was probably down to a software issue or a manual input failure.