Fallon: Miliband will stab UK in back over Trident

The Conservatives are accusing Ed Miliband of preparing to "stab the United Kingdom in the back", trading away Britain's nuclear deterrent in order to secure power in a backroom deal with the Scottish Nationalists.

Live updates

Parties grapple to assess the impact of row over Trident

The way the Conservatives' tried to nail the day's election agenda to the issue of Britain's nuclear deterrent has ended with Labour accusations that they'd descended into the politics of the gutter. The row was about the way the Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, criticised the Labour leader Ed Miliband.

He said Mr Miliband has stabbed his brother David in the back to get the leadership and was ready to do the same to the United Kingdom over its security. He was claiming there could be some sort of deal with the SNP to scrap our nuclear submarines.

On the Conservative campaign trail ITV News' James Mates assesses the fall-out:

Sturgeon draws a 'blood red line' over keeping Trident

Trident became a major campaign bone of contention today, because of the SNP's declared determination to scrap the nuclear deterrent. Nicola Sturgeon has told ITV News it's a "blood red line" that cannot be crossed, in any future Parliamentary deal with the SNP.


General Election campaign turns nasty over Trident

The campaign got nasty today: defence was the theme, but offence was taken. The Tories said Labour would abandon the Trident nuclear deterrent, to cut a deal with the SNP. Ed Miliband would be "stabbing the nation in the back" the Defence Secretary said, just as he'd stabbed his own brother in the back. But Mr Miliband deployed calm fury saying Michael Fallon had "demeaned himself and his office." It was lies and a deceit, said Labour, dragging the campaign "into the gutter".

Ukip and Greens condemn Tory attack on Miliband

Ukip leader Nigel Farage and Green party leader Natalie Bennett have condemned a personal attack on Ed Miliband by the Conservatives.

Nigel Farage and Natalie Bennett criticised the Conservatives attack on Ed Miliband. Credit: PA Wire

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon made reference to the Labour leadership contest between Mr Miliband and his brother David, and suggested he would 'stab the UK in the back' over Trident.

Mr Farage said he fears the election campaign is becoming "an American, negative, shouting match".

Speaking in Kent, he said: "The attack on Ed Miliband was very, very personal, calling him a backstabber.

"I just fear that we have an election campaign that is turning into an American, negative, shouting match between two parties, and I don't think the public like it.

"I certainly don't."

During a visit to Norwich, Ms Bennett said: "A very important issue has been raised in the debate about Trident today but the way in which it was raised is deeply damaging.

"This kind of personalised attack is the kind of Punch and Judy politics that is really damaging our political fabric."

  1. West Country

Clegg 'can't believe' Trident is most important issue

Nick Clegg has told ITV West Country he "can't believe" the Conservatives regard the difference between three and four nuclear submarines is the most important issue facing nation.

ITV News caught up with the Lib Dem leader as he visited Bodmin Hospital this morning. The full interview will broadcast on ITV News West Country later.


PM on 'backstabbing' claim: It's important to be respectful

David Cameron earlier defended Michael Fallon's personal attack on Ed Miliband, but has now said "it's important to be respectful".

Speaking at a PM Direct event at the National Grid training centre in Nottinghamshire, Mr Cameron was asked about the Defence Secretary's claim that the Labour leader "stabbed his brother in the back" over their 2010 leadership contest.

I think we should try to be respectful in the way we conduct our political debate.

I think, generally speaking, in Britain we are. It is a feisty democracy. We have big arguments, big disagreements.

– David Cameron

He added that Mr Fallon had been making a key point about security and was right to "raise it in a pretty frank way, as he did".

Clegg: Personal attacks are 'because of panic'

Nick Clegg says the reason the Conservative and Labour parties are trading personal barbs is because they are "panicking."

In elections people say disobliging things.

...The reason you're seeing more nasty language is because both parties are panicking they're not going to win a majority.

What the country now faces is the prospect of David Cameron in Downing Street with Nigel Farage and at the mercy of the swivel-eyed brigade on the right of his party, or Ed Miliband at the mercy of Nicola Sturgeon and dancing to the tune of Alex Salmond.

That's why they are panicking and that's why they are resorting to ever more vituperative language against each other."

– Nick Clegg

Prime Minister: Labour is in chaos over Trident

David Cameron has accused the Labour Party of being "in chaos" over its stance on the UK's nuclear deterrent, Trident.

One minute they say they'd have three submarines, the next they say four submarines and all the while, Ed Miliband is not ruling out trying to get into Downing Street on the back of SNP support - and the SNP are saying not replacing Trident is a 'red line' for them.

– David Cameron

The Prime Minister also said that he supported Michael Fallon's personal attack on Ed Miliband over the issue.

Earlier the Defence Secretary drew on David and Ed Miliband's 2010 leadership contest and claimed that the Labour leader "stabbed his brother in the back" and would do the same to the UK over the renewal of the ageing nuclear programme.

The Prime Minister responds to a reporter who asks if he stands by Mr Fallon's comments on Mr Miliband:

Trident: What the parties plan on renewal

The renewal of the Trident nuclear submarine fleet has long been a divisive political issue, here is a look at what the main parties believe the future of Trident should be.

Trident: What the parties plan on renewal Credit: Andy Buchanan/PA Wire
  • Labour is committed to replacing the UK's ageing fleet of Vanguard submarines which carry Trident nuclear missiles, but would consider reducing the number to three if a continuous deterrent could be maintained.
  • Conservatives will pledge to renew all four submarines, Michael Fallon said.
  • Liberal Democrats have said they would retain Trident but say two submarines would provide a "perfectly meaningful deterrent", while three would enable the UK to have a "continuous at-sea deterrence", Sir Nick Harvey said.
  • Ukip would commit to "totally upgrading Trident" Patrick O'Flynn said.
  • Both the SNP and Green party are opposed to renewing Trident.
Load more updates Back to top

Latest ITV News reports