Page last updated at 15:47 GMT, Monday, 18 June 2012 16:47 UK

Urgent question: Nuclear-powered submarines

The government's decision to invest £1.1bn in nuclear-powered submarines is a "democratic affront" and an "obscene waste of money", the Scottish National Party's Angus Robertson has said.

After Commons Speaker John Bercow granted an urgent question on the subject on 18 June 2012, Mr Robertson attacked the decision, which he argued would pave the way for the renewal of the UK's Trident nuclear weapons programme.

The majority of voters in Scotland were opposed to Trident, Mr Robertson told MPs.

A final decision on Trident renewal will not be taken until after the next general election, but Defence Secretary Philip Hammond argued that the investment in submarine reactor cores was needed now anyway.

Since the reactors would be able to power both the Astute class attack submarines and the replacement for the Trident missile-armed Vanguard class, the announcement had "nothing to do with weapons", Mr Hammond told MPs.

But Mr Robertson protested that "the next generation of weapons of mass destruction" was being dumped on the river Clyde, where the nuclear fleet is based.

The work will be carried out over an 11-year period at the Rolls-Royce factory in Derby, protecting 300 jobs at the plant, the government has said.

Mr Hammond accused the SNP of resorting to "hyperbole".

He said: "This investment will secure the jobs of 300 highly skilled workers and will ensure that we retain the capability to build submarine nuclear power plants in the UK."

It was "good news for the people of Derby, good news for the Royal Navy and good news for the country as as whole".

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