Memo to PM

Parliamentary Event: A Memo to the next Prime Minster on the Nuclear Question

A Memo to the next Prime Minster on the Nuclear Question: Options Regarding the Replacement of Trident​​
Wednesday, March 04, 2015 (All day)

The issue of the replacement of Trident is already receiving more attention due to speculation about the general election result and it will, anyway, be an issue demanding attention early on in the new government in the context of continuing budgetary pressures and ongoing international strategic priorities. This briefing will lay out the range of options regarding the decision currently scheduled for 2016 for any follow-on nuclear weapon system for the UK including:

  • Going ahead with like-for-like renewal of the submarine fleet in 2016
  • Abandoning the requirement for continuous patrolling (CASD)
  • Delaying the Main Gate decision from early 2016 (with or without life-extension to the existing fleet or changes
  • Adopting an alternative nuclear weapon delivery system to replace the existing fleet of submarines
  • Not proceeding with replacement at all​ (within or without NATO)

BASIC hosted this event on Wednesday 4th March in the Attlee Suite in Portcullis House in London.

Chair: The Rt Hon Dame Margaret Beckett MP, Chair of the (Joint) National Security Strategy Committee


  • Sir Nick Harvey, Liberal Democrat spokesperson on defence
  • Lord Robertson, former Defence Secretary and Secretary-General of NATO
  • Crispin Blunt MP, former SPAD to Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP at MoD and FCO
  • Dr. Matthew Harries, Managing Editor of Survival, IISS
  • Toby Fenwick, Centre Forum and author of \’Retiring Trident\’
  • Dr Kate Hudson, General Secretary of CND

Please note the Trident Commission was not itself last year able to come to a definitive view on options around patrolling and delay, and the ‘memo’ itself from BASIC will not conclude in favour of any particular option, but rather will be written along the lines of a civil service Ministerial briefing – outlining the pros and cons of the principal options – and recommend a further review. The intention is to remind all Parliamentarians that there is a choice to be made in 2016 and to inform that choice which is often erroneously presented as binary. After the event, the memo will be amended, finalised and then circulated to all party leaders and defence leads as well as those attending and invited, and put up on the BASIC website.

You can listen to the full event on PodOmatic or iTunes.

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