Should Britain’s nuclear deterrent Trident be renewed?

12:01 29 April 2015

One of the Royal Navy's Trident-class nuclear submarines

One of the Royal Navy's Trident-class nuclear submarines

Archant

It would be “irresponsible folly” for the next Government not to renew Trident, a group of former defence and security chiefs have warned.

A decision against renewal would be “irrevocable”, they said in a letter to The Times, adding that the submarines would have to stop patrolling the seas straight away in that case as credibility in the system would be lost.

They said the UK has made a huge contribution to nuclear disarmament but warned against compromising Britain’s security in what they described as an “uncertain world”.

“In an uncertain world where some powers are now displaying a worrying faith in nuclear weapons as an instrument of policy and influence, it would be irresponsible folly to abandon Britain’s own independent deterrent,” reads the letter signed by 20 people including former GCHQ director Sir David Omand and former head of the Royal Navy Admiral Sir Jonathon Band.

Trident is a system of submarine-based nuclear missiles, based on four boats.

At any time at least one of them is at sea, on patrol, somewhere in the world.

It is operated by the Royal Navy and based at the Clyde Naval Base on the west coast of Scotland. The name Trident comes from the American-built UGM-133 Trident II missiles which are carried by the boats.

A House of Commons Library note suggests that in 2013/14 prices, replacing the whole Trident system would cost about £17.5 billion to £23.4 billion.

Yesterday Defence Secretary Michael Fallon refused to confirm the Conservatives would vote with a minority Labour government to renew Trident.

The SNP, Greens and Plaid Cymru are in favour of scrapping Trident, in contrast to the Labour and Conservative position.

Related articles

18 comments

  • what would we do without helium three, or fresh clean water, air to breath, bees to pollinate our food crops?

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Sunday, May 3, 2015

  • The most ironic thing of all is Helium-3...a gas that is almost non existent on our planet which is used in instruments detecting dirty bom.bs and which scientists think will help us achieve the holy grail of Nuclear Fusion....it can only be obtained by mining on the Moon (Obama cut further Moon exploration funding on his 2nd term) OR in the process of decommissioning a nuclear warhead!!!

    Report this comment

    Bob

    Friday, May 1, 2015

  • Should you want to keep your posted comments, write it offline and then post it here. The EDP has changed its arrangements so you can't go back and save a comment you just had binned by the Archant censors.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, May 1, 2015

  • non discriminative, relevant and related comment submitted at 9.24 am Friday 0105

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, May 1, 2015

  • To follow on from Bony Tony, Labour will be wiped out by the SNP, making another referendum for Independence inevitable. Trident in strategic terms is pretty unusable, its a cold war weapon, its use has been declared indiscriminate and the threats have markedly changed. Those who would like to hang on to this relic at a cool 100 billion museums value should realise that a move of this weapon system would add another 25 billion to its value. NATO is obsolete, it has been kept alive far beyond its erstwhile aims and objectives, it has been subverted and changed into an aggressive force that has undermined peace in Europe by its insistence to expand into eastern Europe. It has been misused in the Balkans and in Libya and Europe should look to solve its own defence without reverting to USIsrael's type and aggressive foreign policy goals. Trident is useless in the age of cyber war, terror attacks and modern unregulated weapon systems such as drones, it should be replaced with a more modern system that does not kill innocent third parties if used. I'm sure that our party politicians could waste the 100 billion easily on some of the hollow promises they have been making for the last six weeks.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, May 1, 2015

  • Nelson, what makes you think they haven't already tried? Retaliation from what? rubble? Ah Russia, that tiny little island in the East, oh wait. Whoever gets into power, this will be another broken promise and its most likely to be Labour or Conservatives with an other so pointless discussion.

    Report this comment

    Piranha24

    Friday, May 1, 2015

  • But WHY are "the great and the good" writing to The Times about this? Now? Yes, the decision whether or not to renew Trident comes up early in the new parliament, but this letter has been written in the context of the SNP being against it. Together the parliamentary Labour party and the Conservatives would easily vote it through. So the fact that Michael Fallon steadfastly refused on TV (and Andrew Neil gave him numerous opportunities) to confirm the Tories would back Labour in the event of a minority Labour government post election, means that the Tories are playing a political game. Quite simply, the letter is nothing more than a plea to "vote Tory." Because only a majority Tory government can "guarantee our security" (ie, renewal of Trident, increased snooping by GCHQ).

    Report this comment

    BonyTony

    Thursday, April 30, 2015

  • They talk about this and that scenarios, the what if's, the just supposes, the various 'threats' etc etc etc but what they're REALLY doing is trying to protect a multi-trillion dollar global arms manufacturing industrial complex. .....In June 2012 the Food Standards Agency finally lifted restrictions on the movement of sheep on 10,000 UK farms....TWENTY SIX years after the Chernobyl accident 1500 miles away. "Before farmers could sell livestock, the animals' radiation levels had to be monitored. If they were above a certain level, the sheep were moved to another area and the levels had to subside before they could be sold and consumed." Think you can have a 20% limited nuclear exchange on one continent AND still survive on this planet.??? yeah rrright

    Report this comment

    Bob

    Thursday, April 30, 2015

  • Always love reading the vested interests bang on about war..."The best way to avoid nuclear conflict remains as it's always been in preventing conventional forces being defeated." Nyetski - more like "“If we don't end war, war will end us.”... Herbert George Wells

    Report this comment

    Bob

    Thursday, April 30, 2015

  • from a labour party who ordered an aircraft carrier what doesnt take planes to a labour leader who cannot remember the massive deficit his party ran up . To a pm who can't remember what football team he supports . The biggest deterrent will probably be the enemy will just feel sorry for such a clueless bunch of fools in charge

    Report this comment

    milecross

    Thursday, April 30, 2015

  • What happens when the Iranian`s eventually build a Boomer (and they will), park it off Iceland and tell us to back off or else? Or perhaps the Russian`s sell Argentina a nuclear sub and they tell us to clear out of the Falklands or else? These scenarios will never come to pass as long as we have FOUR Trident submarines. If you are naïve enough to drop your guard in this world someone, in the next 85 years of this Century, will almost certainly fancy their chances of making you pay for it.

    Report this comment

    Supernova6

    Wednesday, April 29, 2015

  • This question of whether or not we need an independent nuclear deterrent is, and always has been, dogged in controversy. The deterrence only works if the enemy can't be sure that it can prevent a retaliatory attack. To do that it has to be able to either neutralise the sub before it launches the missiles or alternatively intercept them after launch. At present no potential enemy can do either so the deterrence remains viable. However, we are assuming that a potential enemy is led by a rationale leadership. In the case of some rogue states or unstable countries does this premise still hold true? In addition does the UK ever envisage a potential enemy will attack us in isolation? How likely is it that the UK would be attacked without an attack taking place on our NATO partners? Realistically, any nuclear attack on us by a military power as opposed to a rogue state or terrorist group will invariably result in collateral damage and fallout affecting most of Europe. The best way to avoid nuclear conflict remains as it's always been in preventing conventional forces being defeated. Unfortunately, our conventional forces are now far less able and resilient than they've ever been. In the event of a confrontation with a large scale land or naval forces we will still rely on America to save us. The possession of a bigger navy and army would ultimately be far more important than an independent nuclear deterrent.

    Report this comment

    Bad Form

    Wednesday, April 29, 2015

  • £17.5 billion to £23.4 billion...yeah right that works out at £35bn to £46.8bn in MOD contract procurement terms. Why turn that kind of money into national debt just to blow up the world FIRST! using a FIRST STRIKE weapon system? We could have a better NHS and let someone else blow up the world first...as in the end..what's the difference???

    Report this comment

    Bob

    Wednesday, April 29, 2015

  • Personally there should be more of a debate on our national security then some of these child like fringe protest parties SNP,Greens,Welsh windbags,and Uncle Tom Cobleys Then they can be shown up to be unsophisticated bandwagon jumpers playing dice with the lives of British citizens.in this very unstable world.It is no wonder voters return again and again to the main parties whop at least are grown up.

    Report this comment

    PaulH

    Wednesday, April 29, 2015

  • Piranha, why would Russia or North Korea launch a nuclear attack. In the retaliation they would be destroyed. Knowing this then nobody can launch an attack. What we and everyone else needs is more troops, more planes and more ships, they are what is needed to respond to attacks, terrorists, etc..

    Report this comment

    Nelson

    Wednesday, April 29, 2015

  • Someone's been watching too many comedy shows thinking they are solid factual political documentaries. it would be an even bigger waste of money to scrap Trident, not to mention the lose of jobs which you'd think SNP would want to protect rather than risk. With the Russians and North Koreans around you never know if a nuclear attack is likely, wouldn't take my eyes of them for a second.

    Report this comment

    Piranha24

    Wednesday, April 29, 2015

  • Absolutely not! What a waste of money! Will any person or government ever launch a nuclear attack? Would we morally be able to respond? It would be the end of civilisation as we know it and probably the end of the human race. We don't need it, plenty of others have the deterrent, using it would be death.

    Report this comment

    Nelson

    Wednesday, April 29, 2015

  • Yes, yes and thrice yes. But I don't want to see a 'pumped-up' and rolled-up sleeved Dave Cameron announce it. After all, if he can't remember the name of his 'favourite' football team (yeah right, as if you follow football) what chance does he have of remembering the launch codes if required - now what was it again? Oh yes, V I L L A

    Report this comment

    One Horse Town

    Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

More news stories

Yesterday, 13:55
Police have released CCTV following a fire at a Ramsey industrial estate

“It’s business as usual.” That’s the defiant message from the owner of a car body shop in Ramsey which was destroyed in an arson attack.

Yesterday, 11:02
Missing teenager Adam Clough

Bedfordshire police are appealing for information to find a missing teenage boy.

Yesterday, 09:28
The scene at Halifax bank in St Neots.

Police are investigating after reports of an attempted ram raid in St Neots in the early hours of this morning (Tuesday).

Yesterday, 07:52
 Gubbio Flag Throwers in Huntingdon Market Square,

A spectacular display of colour, sound and Italian culture was bought to Huntingdon at the weekend.

Most read stories

Local business directory

Cambridgeshire's trusted business finder
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hunts Post e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up