UK's Nuclear Deterrent

Part of Terrorist Attack: Nice – in the House of Commons at 7:38 pm on 18th July 2016.

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Photo of Ben Howlett Ben Howlett Conservative, Bath 7:38 pm, 18th July 2016

Sorry, I have little time left.

Our approach to nuclear weapons has been measured and proportionate so far, and I welcome that approach and want to see it continue. The UK has set an example of how to implement a minimum strategic deterrent by reducing our warhead total from 200 to 160 in recent years. We should not deviate from that approach as Britain looks to reassert its soft power internationally.

Although the strongest arguments for the renewal of Trident have to be the defence of our nation and our people, there are other arguments that also strengthen that case, and I wish to finish my remarks by touching on the economic arguments. At a micro level, Trident renewal will have a positive impact on the British economy. Maintaining and sustaining this defence capability supports more than 30,000 jobs and around 2,200 people are already working on the Successor programme. Not only will the renewal of Trident create many more specialist and non-specialist jobs, it is estimated that more than 800 British companies will contribute to the programme and therefore feel the positive effect through jobs and growth. Given the current economic climate, we must focus our attention on that economic argument.

Let us be clear, if we fail to renew Trident, we will be doing more harm than good. If we leave the door open for nuclear blackmail, it would increase the possibility of unnecessary conventional warfare, and decrease our standing in the world. I therefore urge the House, for the benefits of national security, long term peace, and for confidence in the British economy, to support the renewal of Trident.