UK's Nuclear Deterrent

Part of Terrorist Attack: Nice – in the House of Commons at 7:06 pm on 18th July 2016.

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Photo of Roger Godsiff Roger Godsiff Labour, Birmingham, Hall Green 7:06 pm, 18th July 2016

May I say at the outset that I was a multilateralist during the cold war? I supported the balance of terror in Europe, I have never been a member of CND and, indeed, once the atom was split we could not unmake it. But the world has changed, and that is why I have changed my view.

May I also acknowledge the genuine and understandable concerns of my hon. Friends who represent constituencies that are intimately involved in the renewal of the Trident project? I would feel exactly the same way if I was representing their constituents, with 30,000 jobs at risk. I understand that, but the cost of this programme is admitted to be between £31 billion and who knows what, because the Secretary of State and the Prime Minister have not answered the question put by the leader of the SNP about the final costs of the programme. I do not believe that can be justified as value for money when I think a number of the arguments are flawed.

What are those arguments? Usually three are put forward. The first is that the system is independent. It is not; the UK has four nuclear submarines, each of which can carry up to eight missiles. The UK does not own the missiles; it leases them from America.