THE presence of two military bases in the Richmond constituency is something I’m very proud of.

Having the biggest British Army centre in the world at Catterick Garrison and the RAF at Leeming is a huge economic and social plus for the area. I know we all feel as proud as I do of our longstanding links with our Armed Forces.

I strongly believe we have to maintain our conventional forces while also keeping our nuclear capability. Last week I voted for the renewal of our independent nuclear deterrent (‘Trident’). There are respected voices on both sides of this debate and here’s why I voted the way I did.

Deciding to spend £31bn at a time when Government money is tight is not an easy option. That could fund a lot of teachers, nurses, police or bolster further our conventional forces, opponents of the Trident weapons system say.

But it is important to see that £31bn over 35 years in the context of overall Government spending. That £31bn represents 20 pence in every £100 that the Government spends.

To me, that’s a very cheap premium to renew an insurance policy that has kept Britain safe for almost 50 years and will do so for almost another half century.

To those who say that we don’t need the deterrent I would point to the current political instability in the world. Who could have predicted the rise of Daesh a few years ago or the new-found aggression of a Putin-led Russia? Who knows what the threats might be in 20 or 30 years’ time?

And history tells us that unilateralism simply doesn’t work. There is no evidence that if Britain gave up its deterrent, other nuclear nations would follow suit, leaving Britain vulnerable in a more dangerous world. Of course, I agree we should maintain our commitment to multilateralism and it should be noted that post-Cold War we reduced our nuclear stockpile and the number of warheads on each submarine.

Some argue that submarine-borne missiles are the wrong technology. I found the exhaustive review of Trident alternatives carried out in 2013 convincing. It was clear that only four submarines could provide the continuous at-sea deterrent and that land-based alternatives would either be no cheaper or would be less effective.

Finally, I listened carefully to the words of General Sir Nick Houghton, who stepped down as Chief of the Defence Staff of the British Armed Forces last week.

A Yorkshireman and former commander of what was our local regiment, the Green Howards, his military career spanned 43 years and included spells in Northern Ireland, Germany, Iraq and Afghanistan. There is little he doesn’t know about modern warfare.

Writing just before last week’s Trident vote, Sir Nick said there was a danger that following the publication of the Chilcot Report into the Iraq War (with its well-founded criticisms) that Britain could lose its nerve and the courage to protect the values it held so dear.

He strongly believes it would not be sensible to surrender the advantage our independent nuclear deterrent gave us in an uncertain world.

I’m glad so many of my fellow MPs kept their nerve and voted overwhelmingly in favour of renewing Trident – a decision which reflects the views of the majority of British people.