Continuous At-Sea Deterrent

Part of Parental Rights (Rapists) and Family Courts – in the House of Commons at 6:21 pm on 10th April 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion 6:21 pm, 10th April 2019

If the right hon. Gentleman really thinks that 122 countries around the world are engaging in gesture politics, I would suggest to him that it is perhaps more a gesture from him than it is from them. I believe in Britain taking a leadership role. Perhaps he does not. The constant sitting back and waiting for something else to happen—doing the wrong thing—would frankly be unconscionable.

It is very easy to characterise those of us who are against nuclear weapons as somehow not living in the real world, so perhaps I could just remind the House that there are plenty of people within the military world who do not think that nuclear weapons are a useful tool going forward. Back in 2014 senior political and diplomatic figures—including people such as the former Conservative Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind, former Defence Secretary Des Browne and former Foreign Secretary Lord Owen—came together with very high ranking military personnel to say that they believe that the risks posed by nuclear weapons and the international dynamics that could lead to nuclear weapons being used are being underestimated, and that those risks are insufficiently understood by world leaders.

The Government’s main argument for replacing Trident appears to be that it is the ultimate insurance in an uncertain world. I argue that they fail to acknowledge that it is our very possession of nuclear weapons that is making that world more uncertain. Nor have the advocates of nuclear weapons ever explained why, if Trident is so vital to protecting us, that is not also the case for every other country in the world. The Secretary of State did not answer me at the beginning of this debate—it seems a long time ago now—when I put it to him that we have no moral arguments to put to other countries to ask them not to acquire nuclear weapons if we ourselves are not only keeping them but upgrading them. I put it to him again that a world in which every country is striving for, and potentially achieving, nuclear weapons would be an awful lot more dangerous than the world we have today.