A SPECIAL reception was held in Westminster to mark the 50th year of Britain’s continuous at sea nuclear deterrent.

The First Sea Lord, defence ministers and industry leaders were among the guests at the event, organised by Barrow MP John Woodcock.

It is just over five decades since HMS Resolution, armed with Polaris missiles, first went on patrol in June 1968. A nuclear-armed submarine has been operational around the clock without a single break since April the following year.

Mr Woodcock said before the event: “This is a great opportunity to put Barrow’s extraordinary expertise and service to the nation in the national spotlight as we salute the world-skills of those who have designed and constructed every one of the deterrent submarines that have patrolled without a break for almost 50 years.

“Some of those currently employed on the Dreadnought programme are the descendants of Furness workers who built and launched many different types of vessels at the yard throughout its history that has stretches back to before the First World War.

“We also pay tribute to the Royal Navy submariners who will take the boats to sea and maintain a vigilance that is essential to our security. It is worrying that, in these times of international stability, there are those who wish to see our continuous at sea deterrent eliminated. We must be unified in our support of CASD to ensure the safety of our citizens and the security of our allies for years to come.

“But it is with a certain pride that we look back on the past 50 years during which our continuous at sea deterrent has kept us safe, and we look forward to the future knowing that the new generation of submarines can do the same for our nation.”

Assembling in the Strangers’ Dining Room were ministers, peers, MPs, senior Royal Navy personnel, representatives of BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce, trade union officials and supply chain company members.