Another vote on Trident?
Is Tony Blair signalling that Parliament will get another vote in the years to come on whether to proceed with a replacement for Trident?
Look carefully at what he said in Prime Minister's Questions (watch it here). "It's today we need to take the decision," he said before adding the words, "for the concept and design stage". Later he said that it was always open for Parliament to look again at what he called the "gateway stage" - i.e. the moment the order for new submarines has to be placed - in 2012 to 2014. In other words, MPs may get to vote again before the subs are ordered.
Why does this matter? Because ministers are desperate to split the large number of rebels they currently face. Already some want to vote against Trident whilst others want to vote - with the Lib Dems - to delay the decision. A third group want an assurance that today's vote does not commit Britain to spend billions on replacing our nuclear deterrent and keeping it for decades to come without the issue ever being voted on again.
That group have been given a hint by the PM today. The question is whether, before the end of this debate, there is more than a hint - namely a commitment to another vote in a few years time. Of course, that would have to come not from the PM but his likely successor, Gordon Brown. He obviously can't say anything but watch carefully for the words of his namesake, and close ally the defence secretary in the minutes before the vote.