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Nuclear Deterrent

Volume 525: debated on Monday 14 March 2011

5. How much of the sum allocated by his Department to the Trident replacement concept phase has been transferred from its budget for the assessment phase. (45700)

The concept phase for the programme to replace the Vanguard submarine was extended to allow potential designs to be developed more fully, and to allow the value for money of the programme to be reviewed. The previous Government approved a sum of about £255 million for that extension, and this January the coalition Government authorised an additional sum of about £25 million.

On 19 October last year, the Prime Minister said that

“a proper full replacement of Trident is the right option for the future.”—[Official Report, 19 October 2010; Vol. 516, c. 805.]

However, on 10 March, the Liberal Democrat chairman, the hon. Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale (Tim Farron), said:

“I’m pretty confident there will not be a full replacement.”

Will the Minister please tell us what the formal, agreed coalition Government policy is on Trident replacement?

The coalition Government are committed to the replacement of the Trident submarine, but our Liberal Democrat colleagues have the right to argue another position.

Can my hon. Friend assure the House that the decision set out in the strategic defence and security review will not alter the nature or credibility of our nuclear deterrent, and that it will ensure that we maintain Britain’s ultimate insurance policy?