UK's Nuclear Deterrent

Part of Terrorist Attack: Nice – in the House of Commons at 8:43 pm on 18th July 2016.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Equality) 8:43 pm, 18th July 2016

It is a pleasure to speak in this debate. This issue has been framed as contentious, controversial and sensitive, and it has been given unneeded attention from various sections of our media and political activists within and without this House. Most unfortunate of all is the fact that too many concerns have been proven to be political dogma, masked all too often by false and misguided idealism. Some in this House ignore the reality, but we must debate that reality and present it to the House. I fully support Trident renewal, and in the Northern Ireland Assembly, aerospace, defence, security and space have been identified as priorities in the programme for government. Therefore, if jobs are coming off the back of Trident, we in Northern Ireland will take them—if they are available, send them our way.

As everyone knows, our national security is no game, and Members will be hard-pushed to find someone who disagrees with the fact that the world is over-armed and that we need to move away from war, violence and weapons with nuclear capabilities. However, we have not yet realised that ideal world, and to ignore that would be to put our country and its people in danger. Our country would be less protected than it was yesterday, and we would be more threatened by enemies who would immediately be less deterred from attacking our country. We need to be prepared for the real world we live in, with all its inherent dangers. I continue to implore those opposed to a deterrent to consider that when we take all things into consideration and are rational about the issue, the arguments consistently and overwhelmingly stack up on the renewal side of the argument. Our deterrent is a deterrent, not an aggressor or a destroyer. It is fit for purpose and will be used only for its purpose.

Not only does Trident act as a deterrent and have the potential to be extremely effective, the efficacy of the system is testimony to the continued strength of British defence. Trident forms an integral part of our strong and ready defence of a strong and proud country. Over 30 countries have weapons of mass destruction, be they nuclear or biological. The list contains our closest allies in NATO, but not all of those countries are in NATO. Were we to remove our deterrent, we would be stepping off the world stage and making our country a less significant player around the globe, and a less significant partner. We need the United Kingdom to remain strong. We need the United Kingdom now more than ever at the top table when it comes to global security. Scaling back our capabilities at a time when the world is more armed than ever, and is an incredibly volatile place, is not the way the go. The aims of disarmament need to press ahead. It is an aim that I am sure we all hope will come to fruition one day, but the ideal world does not yet exist and the context is not yet set for today to be that day for the United Kingdom.

Trident ensures, ultimately, that the United Kingdom would be able to stand up for itself even in the worst scenario imaginable. It sends out a strong message that no matter how many people talk down our standing as a nation, we remain one of the most staunchly defended nations on this earth, ready for whatever our enemies might throw at us. What is contentious about defending our country? What is controversial about preparing our country for the worst? What is sensitive about ensuring our country can react appropriately to the unthinkable? When cool heads come together and rational minds meet, the correct decision on this issue should court no controversy at all. Renewing our nuclear deterrent is the right thing to do; indeed, it is the only thing we can do. We in the Democratic Unionist party will support the Government tonight and join them in the Lobby to retain Trident and have Trident renewal.