‘Tories snub Lib Dems over Trident future’

From today’s Guardian:

Philip Hammond, the defence secretary, will reignite the argument over Britain’s independent nuclear deterrent on Monday when he announces a further multimillion-pound contract for a new generation of nuclear missile submarines, making it clear he plans to press ahead with a Trident replacement.

The Ministry of Defence said the £350m contract would sustain 1,200 UK jobs, adding that the investment made “clear the government’s firm commitment to maintaining continuous at-sea deterrence for future decades”.

Hammond, who will visit the Trident submarine base at Faslane on the Clyde on Monday, said: “Our continuous submarine-based nuclear deterrent is the ultimate safeguard of our national security and the government is committed to maintaining it, both now and in the future.

“This latest expenditure for the next generation of nuclear-armed submarines is an investment in UK security and the British economy, sustaining high-quality jobs and vital skills.”

He added: “We are confident that the Scottish people will choose to remain part of the United Kingdom.”

The remarks are likely to be viewed as a sign that Hammond intends to ignore a government-commissioned study into a Trident replacement if it fails to support a like-for-like replacement. The Cabinet Office study is due early next year, and Liberal Democrats had been hoping that senior military officials in the MoD might be persuaded to back a cheaper replacement than like-for-like renewal if a cogent case was assembled.

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  • There will be a very small que of people who will be shocked by this…

    The leadership need to stop pushing the line there has been a victory over Trident or it will be a gift to the Tories and Labour in 2015.

  • This is a re-run of the carrier fiasco and we are now part of the problem. The government needs to decide first what the subs will carry, then design the subs. Not the other way around.

  • @ Steve & @ Alistair – on the contrary, it is Labour who have the problem here. This is the opportunity to flush them out on what they’d do. Milliband has been playing the “humanitarian progressive” for 2 years now, but he wont commit to not renewing Trident. Given that a Labour-led govt is the most likey outcome in time for the 2016 final gatway, it is he who will decide the outcome of this. What, exactly, will Milliband do? Why arent the media flushing him out on this. Why is the dreaded Polly Toynbee silent on this?

  • @MBoy
    In a fair world you may be right, but it isn’t a fair world . The easy victory for Labour is to use this to show the Lib Dems to be ineffective. Along with trust I predict this will be he main thrust of both Tory and Labour campaigns against the Lib Dems.

  • Mboy – who is in power in 2016 is a hypothetical. This government is making a mistake now. If asked to make a prediction I would expect Labour to renew Trident. We have a small window of opportunity where the Tories are hampered by coalition and the economy is extremely bad where we could potentially achieve a nuclear downgrade to a less expensive solution, but I cant see Danny Alexander achieving that.

  • There was a good article on here recently about the ned to keep the skills to build the subs, but that the subs can carry different weapons systems including but not limited to ICBMs. The advantage bein that the could be built to take tactical conventional missiles such as H E cruise but refitted with ICBMs were the strategic situation to change. Sounds eminently sensible to me.

  • Don’t they always claim the number of jobs to be created? We heard it this morning with the nuclear power Mitsubishi proposal, we hear it with every commercial planning proposal of any sort.. it is merely a ‘dog-whistle’ to get decision makers on side, as if they don’t they will be contributing to the emotive unemployment figures.
    But this is an opportunity for us to say ‘we have no need of nuclear’ we are a modern world where we talk and negotiate over our differences. We don’t have anyone that we want to ‘nuke’ and having Trident or any substitute isn’t any deterrent to anyone who might remotely consider nuking us, it is time we recognised that and stopped this nonsense talk. We will only move to another ‘MAD’ stand-off situation with many countries spending time and money on things none of us want or need.
    Time to be brave, time to say ‘NO’ to nuclear, spend the money on the things we do want, turn the engineering and scientific capacity to production of non-nuclear power generation, exploration and research. Challenge the warmongers to turn their attention, their investment and their skills, to climate challenges, famine and the needs of the developing world.
    Go on, I dare you …

  • Well said Peter; hear, hear.

  • Defence comes first!

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