As the new money for BAE in Barrow was announced yesterday, the press went into its usual spin about how this meant a split between us and the Tories.
Once again, they are wrong. This is not new money, it was announced in May, and I blogged about it in June.
This announcement, like the one in June, in no way changes or contradicts the Liberal Democrat position on Trident.
Liberal Democrats are opposed to the like-for-like replacement of Trident and our Chief Secretary Danny Alexander is leading a review into alternatives.
As the Tories want to renew Trident, this is an area where the Coalition partners have compromised. We have ensured that the decision on whether to go ahead with the renewal of Trident will be made in 2016, after the next General Election, and we will continue to make the case for alternatives in the meantime. However, in order for that decision to be made in 2016 some preparatory work, including the £315m to Barrow announced yesterday, has to go ahead now, which we have agreed to.
This is absolutely not pre-empting or undermining the 2016 ‘Main Gate’ decision which will lead to the renewal or otherwise of Trident.
As for Labour, remember, it was Gordon Brown who supported the replacement for Trident, without a vote in Parliament, and it is only because the Lib Dems are in government that the replacement hasn’t been agreed by the Tories.