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Trident Renewal

Part of Opposition Day — [13th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 3:55 pm on 20th January 2015.

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Photo of Julian Lewis Julian Lewis Conservative, New Forest East 3:55 pm, 20th January 2015

Yes, indeed. As I said, the evidence points in the opposite direction.

I have covered the point about gaps in conventional capability. If the nuclear deterrent were scrapped, there is no guarantee that the money saved—all of it, or even any of it—would be put towards conventional forces. Even if it were, no amount of conventional forces can compensate for the absence of the ability to deter nuclear blackmail.

We have heard in graphic terms the consequences of the explosion of a nuclear weapon. All I can say is that everybody agrees it would be a disaster if nuclear weapons were fired and exploded. The question is: what is the best way of preventing that from happening? Time after time, when asked the key question about keeping a nuclear deterrent as long as other countries have one, people have shown in overwhelming numbers that they subscribe to the route of peace through deterrence. I subscribe to that, as do most Labour Members, but the smaller parties do not. It would be an outrageous betrayal of the first duty of government—namely, defence—if either of the two main parties, if there were a hung Parliament after the next election, allowed this matter to become a negotiating issue in forming a coalition. The issues at stake are far too important for that.