UK's Nuclear Deterrent

Part of Terrorist Attack: Nice – in the House of Commons at 6:55 pm on 18th July 2016.

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Photo of Owen Thompson Owen Thompson SNP Whip 6:55 pm, 18th July 2016

I will not take interventions. I am keen to make my speech as quickly as possible, because a number of other Members wish to speak.

Do we genuinely want to renew this weapon of vengeance? That is what the debate boils down to. We are talking about rogue states. We are talking about situations that we cannot yet begin to comprehend. The threats that the country currently faces are not posed by states with nuclear weapons; they are posed by terrorist attacks and cyber-attacks. Nuclear weapons are not the answer to those problems.

Let me take this opportunity to pay tribute to the many members of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and Scottish CND who have come from all over the country to lobby us. They came to Parliament last week, there were events throughout the country over the weekend, and more came here today. Some Members will know that last year I presented a ten-minute rule Bill on the nuclear convoys that regularly travel through my constituency. Sadly, the Bill ran out of parliamentary time and could not be given a Second Reading, but to me the answer seems simple. If we do not have the nuclear weapons, we do not need the nuclear convoys, and we can reduce the risk to those in our communities.

Let me end with a thought for Members to ponder. At the weekend, a friend said to me that if 50 nuclear warheads were set off—which is not impossible; we certainly have that capability—the result would be worldwide famine. That is the reality of the weapons that we are dealing with. There can be no place for them in the world in which we live today. It is time for the country to take a lead, to make a stand, and to say, “We are taking the first step.” By doing that, it could genuinely make the other countries follow its lead, and we could get rid of nuclear weapons throughout the world.