Socialist Worker

Union sponsored MPs back nukes in Trident vote

Issue No. 2043

New Labour pushed its plans to renew the Trident nuclear missile system through parliament last week – by relying on the backing of the Tories.

Some 95 Labour MPs rebelled against the government, arguing that Trident was a useless and immoral waste of money.

The rebels included government minister Nigel Griffiths and two parliamentary private secretaries, all of whom resigned their posts rather than vote for Trident.

But a surprising number of the Labour MPs that backed the government’s line are union members – and voted against their union’s position.

Trade unionists in Unison and the T&G should ask loudly why their unions are giving support to MPs that don’t support the union.


The Unison union has policy to “oppose the replacement of Trident and to call for the decommissioning of the existing Trident weapons system”. But 43 out of 64 Unison sponsored MPs failed to vote for that policy.

They are: David Anderson, Charlotte Atkins, Hazel Blears, David Blunkett, David Borrow, Lyn Brown, Des Browne, Andy Burnham, Stephen Byers, Ben Chapman, Mary Creagh, Brian Donohoe, Angela Eagle, Linda Gilroy, Patrick Hall, Stephen Hepburn, Sharon Hodgson, Adam Ingram, Diana Johnson, Helen Jones, Eric Joyce, Jane Kennedy, Sadiq Khan, Fiona Mactaggart, Judy Mallaber, Gilly Merron, Anne Moffat, Laura Moffatt, Meg Munn, Dan Norris, Albert Owen, Greg Pope, Dawn Primarolo, Andrew Reed, Terry Rooney, Martin Salter, Jonathan Shaw, Gerry Sutcliffe, David Taylor, Paddy Tipping, Keith Vaz, Alan Whitehead and Mike Wood.


Tony Woodley, general secretary of the T&G union, wrote to all 54 T&G sponsored MPs before the vote to point out that the T&G “has a very long record of supporting the removal of Britain’s nuclear weapons, stretching back to the 1950s”.

Yet 39 of them failed to vote for union policy: Nick Ainger, Graham Allen, Vera Baird, Ed Balls, Gordon Banks, Margaret Beckett, Clive Betts, Hazel Blears, Gordon Brown, Andy Burnham, Ann Clwyd, Yvette Cooper, Brian Donohoe, Frank Field, Robert Flello, Mike Gapes, Nigel Griffiths, Harriet Harman, Meg Hillier, Margaret Hodge, Sharon Hodgson, Geoff Hoon, Joan Humble, Adam Ingram, Diana Johnson, Martyn Jones, Eric Joyce, Rob Marris, Kerry McCarthy, Ian McCartney, Pat McFadden, Ed Miliband, Paul Murphy, Ian Pearson, Jim Sheridan, Emily Thornberry, Claire Ward, Malcolm Wicks and Rosie Winterton.

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Sat 24 Mar 2007, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 2043
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