Saturday, March 03, 2007

Trident amendment defeated

Just come out of Trident debate and I'm now sitting in the Lib Dem European Group fringe (LDEG asked me to video it) but the great news is that the amendment to the Trident motion was defeated. This is excellent news and gives us a good policy on the doorsteps.

Mind you it was very close. It went to a count. I was in the middle of the hall when the vote was held. I thought the amendment was carried when I looked around. And when the result of the count came, those in favour was announced first. And I thought that with over 400 votes it must surely have won. But no, those against was higher by about 40 - I can't recall the exact figures.

It was a good debate and there was a late intervention by Ming who spoke incredibly well. The most passion was on the side in favour of the amendment but in the end they were fatally handicapped. They argued a case for straightforward unilateralism yet that was not what was on offer. Instead they had submitted an amendment that was mortally wounded even before the political battle began. There were attempts to rewrite it by some from the podium and that again undermined their own case.

Some supporters of the amendment claimed that it meant we would have no policy on the timing of scrapping Trident but that was a great thing they claimed as we could all come back at a later date to sort that out. Yet they attacked the proposers of the motion for putting back a decision on policy.

Ultimately sufficient members accepted the motion and rejected the amendment. But the headlines woiuld have been so different if the amendment had been carried. They would have been appalling and would have undermined us in the run up to the May elections. Thankfully members decided jumping off the top of a cliff was not a sensible policy.

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