Nick Clegg on Tories’ Trident announcement: “Some people are jumping the gun”

Trident missile launchNick Clegg has made it clear that the Coalition Agreement on the Trident nuclear programme will not be changed, despite Philip Hammond’s announcement today on a multimillion-pound contract for a new generation of nuclear missile submarines.

Speaking at a press conference this morning, Nick Clegg said:

Some people are jumping the gun on this Trident decision. The Coalition Agreement is crystal clear. It stands. It will not be changed. It will not be undermined. It will not be contradicted.

The final decision on the replacement of Trident will not be taken until 2016 – however much other people may not like it. What we need as a country is to have a considered, fact-based debate about what kind of deterrent we need in the future, and what kind of deterrent we can afford in the future.

Let’s remember, the idea of a like-for-like, entirely unchanged replacement of Trident is basically saying that we will spend billions and billions and billions of pounds on a nuclear missile system designed with the sole strategic purpose of flattening Moscow at the press of a button. It seems entirely right that I have argued for years – my party has argued for years – that might not be necessarily the only viable or most affordable option for the future.

Watch the video at the Guardian.

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  • What is the truth on this story? What precisely has Hammond said? Is this another Guardian story set out to excite its readers and provide another opportunity to chuck insults at the Lib Dems?

  • Paul McKeown 29th Oct '12 - 6:30pm

    Philip Hammond should be asked to state what further tax rises or government spending cuts he proposes in order to fund the Trident replacement. As far as I can see, a Trident replacement programme increases the government’s annual budget by somewhere between 0.25% and 0.50% per annum for decades to come, a considerable figure when the government is already running a huge deficit.

  • Peter Watson 29th Oct '12 - 7:33pm

    “Some people are jumping the gun”. Who does he mean? Is this a criticism of Hammond or deliberately vague wording that Clegg’s supporters can take to be that while giving Clegg plausible deniability?
    I’ve seen comments elsewhere on this site celebrating the achievement of what appears to be nothing more than a slight delay in commissioning a Trident replacement while the coalition government spends hundreds of millions of pounds designing it. Cleggs speechifying today seems nothing more than another example of Clegg making the right noises while doing the wrong things.

  • “What is the truth on this story?”

    That Clegg is desperate that this shouldn’t be seen as yet another example of the Tories doing just what they want to in the face of Lib Dem objections. And that the Tories are keen that it should be seen as that,.

  • Could it just be a good dose of sabre rattling to divert attention from the current economic mess? Dave has already done crime for the same reason.

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