Continuous At-Sea Deterrent

Part of Parental Rights (Rapists) and Family Courts – in the House of Commons at 2:38 pm on 10th April 2019.

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Photo of Gavin Williamson Gavin Williamson The Secretary of State for Defence 2:38 pm, 10th April 2019

I have given the hon. Lady the opportunity to speak.

We remain committed to reducing our stockpile to no more than 180 warheads by the mid-2020s, but the reality is that other nations have not taken the hint from the lead that the United Kingdom has shown. Even as we have cut back, others are creating new systems to get around treaty obligations or are simply ignoring the commitments that they have made. I have already spoken about Russia’s breach of the INF treaty. The truth is that the only way to create the global security conditions necessary for nuclear disarmament is by working multilaterally. Our commitment to the deterrent is cast-iron.

We are spending around £4 billion every year to ensure the ultimate guarantee of our safety for the next 50 years, not least by investing in the next generation of ballistic missile submarines – the Dreadnought class. We have made significant progress.  We have already named three of the state-of-the-art submarines—Dreadnought, Valiant and Warspite. Construction has already started in Barrow on HMS Dreadnought. Those names recall some of the greatest ships of our naval history. We are investing millions of pounds in state-of-the-art facilities and complex nuclear propulsion systems, and we are ensuring every day counts by utilising our Dreadnought contingency, with access to up to £1 billion, to fund more in the early years to drive out cost and risk later in the programme.