Some not-so-cheery Monday morning news arrives from across the pond. Over in the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Theresa May has been accused of knowing about a major malfunction with a nuclear missile and covering it up. CNBC reports that a July 2016 British Royal Navy submarine test-fired a Trident missile in the opposite direction of which it was intended. So, instead of launching the missile towards a sea target near west Africa, the HMS Vengeance — which was located off the Florida coast — lobbed it towards the U.S. mainland.
Obviously, disaster was averted because the missile was unarmed, but the matter is only coming to light now, with former UK labour defense minister Kevan Jones calling for “an urgent inquiry” into the matter. He also pointedly said, “Ministers should come clean if there are problems.” The Sunday Times has information on the alleged cover up, which happened mere weeks before the government voted to increase nuclear missile funding:
A serious malfunction in Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons deterrent was covered up by Downing Street [government office] just weeks before the crucial House of Commons vote on the future of the missile system.
The Sunday Times can reveal that a Trident II D5 missile — which can kill millions when armed with nuclear warheads — experienced an alarming failure after being launched from a British submarine off the coast of Florida in June last year.
Prime Minister Theresa May reportedly knew about the incident — according to a government spokesperson — and, then and now, has still expressed confidence in the program. Weeks after the mistake, she led the parliament vote to spend £40 billion to replace and expand the Trident missile system. On Sunday evening, the BBC’s Andrew Marr quizzed her on whether she had knowledge of the misfire. May didn’t actually answer the question.
“I have absolute faith in our Trident missiles,” she said. “When I made that speech in the House of Commons, what we were talking about was whether or not we should renew our Trident.” Marr pressed on and repeated the question three more times and got nowhere. In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon won’t soon forget the matter. She tweeted about the seriousness of the issue, and Sturgeon’s also calling for a “full disclosure” of what went wrong and why the House Of Commons didn’t know before the Trident vote.