What is the point of replacing Trident? Perhaps we’ll find out tomorrow
What is the point of spending a minimum of £25billions renewing the Trident missile system? Its initial purpose was to deter the Warsaw Pact armies from invading Britain. The Warsaw Pact is no more, the frontier with Russia has moved almost a thousand miles eastwards, and the suicide bombers people who pose the biggest threat to British domestic security these days are not deterred by nuclear weapons.
MPs who think they can answer this conundrum will have their moment in the Commons tomorrow, because a strange alliance of backbench rebels has forced a debate on an issue on which the coalition government has gone coy. The prime mover was the Tory MP Julian Lewis, a longstanding enthusiast for keeping a nuclear arsenal. He freely admits that he was greatly helped by rebels on the left of the Labour Party such as Paul Flynn and Jeremy Corbyn, and by the Green MP Caroline Lucas in getting the issue onto the Commons agenda.
Flynn and the others have a principled objection to nuclear weapons. Lewis, who is no fan of the coalition, wants the government to stop dithering and commit itself to renewal instead of humouring the Lib Dems by looking for a cheaper alternative. That exercise, he says, is “a completely bogus smokescreen.”
On the argument of what do we need Trident for, he says: “I don’t pretend to think about who the enemy might be. It’s like asking who do you think you are going to use your army, navy and air force against in 40 years’ time. Trident will deter any aggressor who has mass destruction weapons which they might be tempted to use to threaten us at any time until 2060.”Tagged in: Trident missile system
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