UK's Nuclear Deterrent

Part of Terrorist Attack: Nice – in the House of Commons at 6:21 pm on 18th July 2016.

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Photo of Johnny Mercer Johnny Mercer Chair, Defence Sub-Committee 6:21 pm, 18th July 2016

Absolutely. We are proud of our naval heritage in the south-west—we are very proud of the people we support, our servicemen and servicewomen, and we would be delighted to make their lives easier by providing the facilities the south-west affords. Locally, the deterrent means thousands of jobs in Plymouth and a continuance of the Plymouth naval tradition that makes so many of us so proud. It is part of the fabric of our city. To lose that would be disastrous for the communities I am here to represent.

Let us not abstain tonight. Let us not play to our home crowd. Let us stand up for Britain’s place in the world and renew our nuclear deterrent. I say to Opposition Members—not to Scottish National party Members, because I have been struck by their rather childlike interventions about Libya and Iraq, which are totally separate issues—that I know many of my friends on the Labour Benches are of a similar mind to me on this issue. To those who are not, I say that I do not believe they love the country less in any way than those who support the motion. However, all the things we come into politics for are nothing without national security, and that must come first. To deliver the causes that I know are so dear to them and to me, we must renew our nuclear deterrent.

All steps must be taken to ensure the safety of this country’s people. The highly skilled engineering jobs I have talked about cannot be risked. Now, with everything that is going on—not just last weekend, but in the past year—is not the time to lower our guard. The Prime Minister mentioned North Korea. Can we really lose our nuclear weapons at this time? In an ideal world, I agree that it would be great not to have nuclear weapons, but how do we disinvent something that has been invented? The Government must base their decisions on the reality they face; others have the luxury to do otherwise. Trident remains the ultimate deterrent against an attack by those who would harm this country and our people, as it has been for 60 years. The point was made earlier that the Trident system is never used. It is used, every single day. A nuclear deterrent does what it says. The Government’s first priority is to ensure the safety and security of the nation and its people, and that is why I will support the Government’s motion tonight. I will be proud to walk through the Lobby with colleagues from across the House.