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Continuous At-Sea Deterrent

Part of Parental Rights (Rapists) and Family Courts – in the House of Commons at 3:16 pm on 10th April 2019.

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Photo of Julian Lewis Julian Lewis Chair, Defence Committee 3:16 pm, 10th April 2019

I am delighted to follow two such supportive speeches on the nuclear deterrent and the work of those who have crewed it for the past 50 years. It is amazing to think of the combination of high training and long periods of low activity that such personnel have to undergo. They truly are the silent guardians of the country and we are hugely in their debt.

What is more, most Members of this House recognise that fact. It is worth putting on the record that in recent years the House has had two key votes on the question of the renewal of the nuclear deterrent submarine fleet, the first under the Labour Government of Tony Blair on 14 March 2007. The House voted by 409 to 161—a massive majority of 248—to proceed with the initial gate of the replacement or successor submarine fleet. The second was under the Conservative Government of the current Prime Minister on 18 July 2016, when the House voted by a colossal majority of 355—namely, 472 votes to 117—to proceed to the main stages of development and production of the submarines.

The only issue to which I took a little exception in the contribution of the shadow Defence Secretary, Nia Griffith, was in one turn of phrase, when she said how appalling it would be if the deterrence weapons were used. I remind her gently that the nuclear deterrent is in use every day of every week all around the year, because the purpose of the nuclear deterrent is to ensure that nuclear war does not break out because no one is in a position to attack us with impunity.