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Trident Renewal

Part of Opposition Day — [13th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 1:17 pm on 20th January 2015.

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Photo of Michael Fallon Michael Fallon The Secretary of State for Defence 1:17 pm, 20th January 2015

Indeed, we should certainly be concerned about the lack of progress in the talks that have been dragging on for months now, and we should be particularly concerned about the military dimension to Iran’s nuclear programme.

Let me deal now with the position of the official Opposition. On 14 November, the shadow Defence Secretary and the shadow Foreign Secretary wrote to the Prime Minister declaring that Britain should maintain

“a minimum credible independent, nuclear deterrent, delivered through a Continuous At-Sea Deterrent”.

However, on 5 January this year, the Leader of the Opposition told Andrew Marr that

“we have got to have the least-cost deterrent that we can have, and that’s my philosophy.”

How, then, can we explain this apparent shift away from the continuous at-sea deterrent? Perhaps it has something to do with the comments of the leader of the SNP who, in talking about coalition, said that Labour would

“have to think again about putting a new generation of Trident nuclear weapons on the River Clyde.”

The public and those whose jobs depend on this programme have a right to know whether the Labour party would be prepared to trade our security if that were the price of power, and I offer Vernon Coaker the opportunity to make that clear.