MPs have voted to renew the Trident nuclear weapons programme by a huge margin in the House of Commons. The government's motion was supported by 472 lawmakers while 117 voted against it.
Despite staunch opposition from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – who defied the party's official position by voting against the deterrent – and the Scottish National Party (SNP), the vote passed by a majority of 355. Some 140 Labour MPs (more than 60%) voted with the government and 47 against after they were given a free vote. There were 40 who were absent and one formal abstention.
Fifty eight out of Scotland's 59 MPs voted against renewing Britain's nuclear weapons system. The only Scottish exception was Tory MP, David Mundell.
Earlier in the day, Theresa May said she would be prepared to push the nuclear button. Scottish MP George Kerevan asked the prime minister: "Can we cut to the chase? Is she personally prepared to authorise a nuclear strike that can kill 100,000 innocent men, women and children?"
May declared she would and added: "And I have to say to the honourable gentleman, the whole point of a deterrent is that our enemies need to know that we would be prepared to use it." Her response was met by audible gasps from some quarters in the opposition ranks.
Corbyn has insisted that he would not push the nuclear button if he was in Downing Street. "I make it clear today, I would not take a decision that kills millions of innocent people," he said. "I do not believe the threat of mass murder is a legitimate way to deal with international relations."
Seeking to make the most of divisions in Labour ranks, May went on the offensive and said it was a "pity" that some of the party's MPs "failed to see the necessity of this nuclear deterrent."
The replacement for the current Vanguard submarines are set to cost around £40bn ($53bn) and up to £140bn in lifetime running costs, according to the Daily Mirror. But the renewal of Britain's nuclear system could go beyond just financial costs, with Angus Robertson, the SNP's leader in Westminster slamming Trident as "an immoral, obscene and redundant weapons system".
Warning that a second Scottish independence referendum could be on the horizon, Robertson said: "If Scotland is a nation, and Scotland is a nation, it is not a normal situation for the state to totally disregard the wishes of the people, and this government has a democratic deficit in Scotland, and with today's vote on Trident it's going to get worse, not better.
"It will be for the Scottish people to determine whether we are properly protected in Europe and better represented by a government that we actually elect - at this rate, that day is fast approaching."