UK's Nuclear Deterrent

Part of Terrorist Attack: Nice – in the House of Commons at 5:23 pm on 18th July 2016.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Angus Robertson Angus Robertson Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader 5:23 pm, 18th July 2016

May I begin by joining the Leader of the Opposition and the Prime Minister in their comments about the unhappy developments in both France and Turkey? I also understand that the Prime Minister needs to leave the debate shortly to attend to some important matters, so I will give her a wink when I finish the consensual stuff, which I want to start with—genuinely—because this is the first opportunity that I have had in the House to wish her well as Prime Minister. I also wish her husband, Philip, well. I do not know him, but we all know how important the support that we get at home is. It will be a test for both of them. We will not agree on many things, but where we do, we will, and where we do not, we will remain the effective Opposition in the House of Commons.

From my experience on the Intelligence and Security Committee I also know a little bit about the national security responsibilities that the Home Secretary has to enact, and the challenges get even bigger when one becomes Prime Minister. I wish her strength and wisdom in dealing with matters that are potentially life and death questions. Those are matters for the Home Secretary and for the Prime Minister and we wish her well.

I am pleased that the Prime Minister has led in this debate. That was not the plan of the Government. Perhaps in the new style of the new Government she thought that, on this important issue, she should lead, and we very much welcome that, because this is a huge matter. It will probably be the biggest spending decision by this Government. Given that—and I will come back to this—I find it utterly remarkable that, a number of hours into this debate, we still have no idea whatsoever of what the through-life costs of Trident replacement are. We can have different views on whether Trident is a good thing or a bad thing and on whether it is necessary, but I have asked the Prime Minister twice about that number. She has the opportunity to intervene on me now and give us that number. She is not going to intervene, because she would prefer not to say it. It is for her to explain. No doubt, her special advisers will be asked by the fourth estate why it is that the Government are asking us to vote for something, but cannot tell us how much it will cost. It is remarkable that in this, the biggest—