UK's Nuclear Deterrent

Part of Terrorist Attack: Nice – in the House of Commons at 4:48 pm on 18th July 2016.

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Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party 4:48 pm, 18th July 2016

I will come to my hon. Friend in a moment.

Other countries have made serious efforts to bring about nuclear disarmament within the terms of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. South Africa abandoned all its nuclear programmes after the end of apartheid, and thus brought about a nuclear weapons-free zone throughout the continent. After negotiation, Libya ended all research on nuclear weapons. At the end of the cold war, Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons, although they were under the control of the former Soviet Union and, latterly, of Russia. Kazakhstan did the same, which helped to bring about a central Asia nuclear weapons-free zone, and in Latin America, Argentina and Brazil both gave up their nuclear programmes.

I commend the Government, and other Governments around the world who negotiated with Iran, seriously, with great patience and at great length. That helped to encourage Iran to give up its nuclear programme, and I think we should pay tribute to President Obama for his achievements in that regard.

The former Conservative Defence Secretary Michael Portillo said:

“To say we need nuclear weapons in this situation would imply that Germany and Italy are trembling in their boots because they don’t have a nuclear deterrent, which I think is clearly not the case.”

Is it not time for us to step up to the plate and promote—rapidly—nuclear disarmament?