We no longer need nuclear weapons aimed at Russia
Liberal Democrat members have backed the party leadership's plan for a scaled-down version of the Trident nuclear arsenal.
The vote came as some in the grassroots wanted radical disarmament, claiming it was the logical conclusion to be reached if the party did not back a like-for-like replacement of four ageing Vanguard submarines, which regularly dock in Plymouth.
Delegates voted narrowly not to back the disarmament amendment and then adopted the party's defence policy – two submarines making unarmed patrols – unchanged.
The Tories, however, remain fundamentally opposed to ending th round-the-clock Royal Navy patrols and favour a like-for-like successor.
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Devonport Dockyard has refitted nuclear-armed submarines for decades, and has the UK's only licence to repair and refuel submarines that carry the Trident missile. Around 25,000 jobs in the area are underpinned by it.
But anti-nuclear campaigners have long been alarmed by their proximity to a large city.
Former Defence Minister Sir Nick Harvey, the MP for North Devon who led the initial stages of the alternatives review, closed the conference debate by arguing the Trident replacement proposed would not be part-time but a fundamentally different defence posture.
He said afterwards: "The world has changed and we no longer need Britain's nuclear weapons on constant patrol poised to flatten Moscow.
"While we cannot predict the future, scaling down our nuclear capability and making this first move on the road to disarmament is the right thing to do.
"Today, as a party, we have signalled our wish to move down the nuclear ladder and make a radical break away from our absurdly outdated current posture."