UK's Nuclear Deterrent

Part of Terrorist Attack: Nice – in the House of Commons at 4:15 pm on 18th July 2016.

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Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party 4:15 pm, 18th July 2016

I could not agree more with my right hon. Friend; he put that very well indeed.

Let me turn to the issue of whether we could simply rely on other nuclear armed allies such as America and France to provide our deterrent. The first question is how would America and France react if we suddenly announced that we were abandoning our nuclear capabilities but still expected them to put their cities at risk to protect us in a nuclear crisis. That is hardly standing shoulder to shoulder with our allies.

At last month’s NATO summit in Warsaw, our allies made it clear that by maintaining our independent nuclear deterrent alongside America and France we provide NATO with three separate centres of decision making. That complicates the calculations of potential adversaries, and prevents them from threatening the UK or our allies with impunity. Withdrawing from that arrangement would weaken us now and in future, undermine NATO, and embolden our adversaries. It might also allow potential adversaries to gamble that one day the US or France might not put itself at risk to deter an attack on the UK.