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Nuclear Weapons

Volume 470: debated on Wednesday 23 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps have been taken by the Government to assess the feasibility of implementing non-nuclear strategic defence options after the expiration of the viability of the UK's current nuclear deterrent. (180610)

[holding answer 22 January 2008]: As the December 2006 White Paper “The Future of the United Kingdom's Nuclear Deterrent” (Cm 6994) made clear, the continuing risk from the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the certainty that a number of other countries will retain substantial nuclear arsenals, means that our minimum nuclear deterrent capability is likely to remain a necessary element of our security. We can only deter such threats in future through the continued possession of nuclear weapons. Conventional capabilities cannot have the same deterrent effect. On 14 March 2007, the House of Commons voted by a clear majority to support the Government's decision to sustain the UK's nuclear deterrent beyond the life of the Vanguard class submarines.