I don’t agree with the new Prime Minister, Theresa May, on many things but I do agree with her when she says it is the primary responsibility of Government to defend our country. An opportunity to demonstrate that came earlier this week when the Government held a long awaited vote on renewing Britain’s nuclear deterrent.
For all of my lifetime Britain has relied upon nuclear weapons as the ultimate weapon of last resort. First air dropped bombs and then missiles launched from submarines signalled to potential enemies that any invasion of Britain or our NATO allies would unleash a response too costly for any gain they would hope to make.
The decision to develop a nuclear deterrent was made by the Post-war Labour Government and continued by successive governments since. Our party policy is to maintain a credible minimum nuclear deterrent because that has helped maintain peace in Europe.
This decision was about renewing the current submarines and whether we order four successor submarines, allowing a continuous presence at sea. The two big unions Unite and GMB recognised the importance of the work their members do by strongly supporting renewal.
The world in which nuclear weapons and deterrence were developed was a dangerous uncertain place and it remains so. No one knows what new challenges we may face over the next fifty years which is why in my view it would be foolhardy to abandon this particular insurance policy.