Evidence submitted by the Conservative Way Forward

APRIL 2012

1. Should the UK remain a nuclear weapon state?

Yes. The first responsibility of government is the security of its citizens. The United Kingdom’s nuclear deterrent guards against the most dangerous threat which British citizens could face. The UK’s nuclear deterrent is the last line of defence against a nuclear attack. It provides a deterrent effect which no other military capability could match. The Trident nuclear deterrent system is the UK’s ultimate insurance policy…

2. If it should, is Trident renewal the only or best option that the UK can and should pursue?

Yes. The Trident system of submarine-based ballistic missiles offers continuous-at-sea deterrence. It is always ready, it provides continuous coverage, its location is secret and it could be fired against any target. Any potential aggressor would know this. As there is always at least one submarine at sea, it is not dependent on security in the UK homeland in order for it to be fired, so it could not be neutralised by any attack on the UK. Any potential aggressor would know this. For such a capability, the Trident system represents excellent value for money…

3. What more can and should the UK do to more effectively promote global nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and nuclear security?

Unilateral nuclear disarmament would immediately remove any influence the UK would have on global multilateral disarmament talks. The UK has already done more than its fair share of disarmament. The UK has consistently reduced the size of its nuclear weapons stockpile and has the smallest nuclear arsenal of the five recognised nuclear powers. This has not inspired further disarmament elsewhere or dissuaded any countries from seeking to develop nuclear weapons of their own. Similarly, it is highly unlikely that any further acts of disarmament by the UK would inspire disarmament elsewhere…

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