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Trident Renewal

Part of Opposition Day — [13th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 2:37 pm on 20th January 2015.

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Photo of Nick Harvey Nick Harvey Liberal Democrat, North Devon 2:37 pm, 20th January 2015

The right hon. Lady makes a good point. If a threat emerges from nowhere, it will be either at the hands of terrorists or a by rogue state sponsored by terrorists, against which a conventional state-on-state nuclear deterrent of the sort that we have would have absolutely no value or purpose. It is important to remember that we have moral and legal obligations to try to bring about global nuclear disarmament, and with one notable exception I hope that all Members of the House believe that that is a desirable objective.

In 1968 the non-proliferation treaty was in effect a pact between the nuclear states that were going to use their best endeavours to negotiate away their weapons and the rest of the world that agreed not to develop nuclear programmes. In terms of non-proliferation the treaty has been moderately successful, but it has made astonishingly little progress on disarmament. Very few signatories to that treaty can have imagined that by 2015 so little progress would have been made. Things are stirring and changing, and the British Government need to wake up to that. More than 150 nation states have attended international conferences and considered in detail and depth the humanitarian consequences of using nuclear weapons.