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Continuous At-Sea Deterrent

Part of Parental Rights (Rapists) and Family Courts – in the House of Commons at 6:31 pm on 10th April 2019.

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Photo of Wayne David Wayne David Shadow Minister (Defence) (Armed Forces and Defence Procurement) 6:31 pm, 10th April 2019

I am very pleased that we have had this excellent and important debate on the 50th anniversary of the continuous at-sea deterrent. I apologise if I do not mention every single Member who has made a contribution. It is very important, to begin with, for us to recognise where we are. The continuous at-sea deterrent is currently provided by four Vanguard class submarines carrying the Trident missile system. In July 2016, this House voted to maintain the UK’s nuclear deterrent beyond the early 2030s, when the Dreadnought class submarines will replace the Vanguards. The first of the new class will enter service in the early 2030s.

One of the strong features of this debate has been the fact that many—indeed, most—Members have paid genuine tribute to the women and men, and families, who support our at-sea deterrent. It is important that this House places on record that we are truly grateful for their ongoing commitment. I think, in particular, of the contributions by my right hon. Friend Mr Jones, and the right hon. Members for Sevenoaks (Sir Michael Fallon) and for Rayleigh and Wickford (Mr Francois), as well as Mr Dunne, whose review is truly excellent. I absolutely agree with him, and I hope that the Government take his ideas forward.

My hon. Friend Vernon Coaker made an important contribution. He not only, rightly, placed an emphasis on paying tribute to our servicemen and women, but made the point that all of us, collectively, who believe in the concept of deterrence need to make the case to the people of this country. He also pointed out that it is very important that we stress that none of us wants to keep nuclear weapons. We are not in favour of nuclear weapons; we want to see a peaceful world and an impetus given to the process of multilateralism.