SUPPORTERS of Trident are using the nuclear deterrent as a "substitute for their own failing virility", a Labour shadow minister has suggested.

Shadow Northern Ireland secretary Stephen Pound said people have a phallic pride about Britain's nuclear weapons system.

The former minister, a long-term supporter of nuclear disarmament, was speaking at fringe event at the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool on Sunday evening.

Questioning the support for Britain's nuclear capability, he said: "People seem to have this, it's almost phallic in some ways, this pride."

He added: "I want, and I think I know what the people in this country want, the people in my part of the world, the real people, the people who actually work and build and make this country what it is - they want investment in public services.

"Not some abstract phallocracy that might happen, some dreadful, useless piece of equipment.

"Some substitute for their own failing virility."

He said members of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament are the "sane people who want to see our planet survive".

Mr Pound also revealed that when quitting Tony Blair's government in 2007 in protest over Trident, the then prime minister warned him his career was over.

Mr Pound said: "I was hurled from Mr Blair's government with the words 'by doing this you realise you've destroyed your future'.

"To which I replied 'by and large, I'd rather destroy my future than the planet'."

MPs backed the renewal of the UK's nuclear weapons system earlier this year, with Labour MPs given a free vote by leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Mr Corbyn is at odds with many of his backbenchers over his anti-Trident stance.

Labour policy since the 1980s has been to keep Trident, but under Mr Corbyn the party has begun a review of defence policy.