Last year Nick Clegg said that “world has changed, the facts have changed, you’ve got to change with them. So like-for-like replacement for Trident is just not right” yet last night in Parliament the Lib Dem Defence Minister Nick Harvey confirmed that the will be no major re-thinking of the programme to replace Britain’s nuclear weapons.
Harvey told MPs that “If the study were to conclude that a particular aspect of the existing plan did not represent good value for money, it might start looking at different ways of doing things, but I have to stress that it is not a review in which we look at all the possible alternative ways in which we might provide a successor, and see which works out the cheapest.” [note 4]
Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament said “This is a hugely disappointing missed opportunity, certain to distress the many voters who thought having Lib Dems in power would result in something better than this. Merely seeking to tweak aspects of the ruinously expensive plan will not deliver significant savings. There is to be no rethink of the rationale for, or requirements of such a system.
“Describing this as a ‘value for money’ review is nonsense – if you shave a few million off a project you never needed in the first place, how is that value for money? As Sir Ming Campbell said yesterday ‘I do not see how one can have a value-for-money assessment unless one considers what alternatives are available’ yet this is what the Coalition are proposing. It looks are though there has been no real concession to the Lib Dems, the wishes of their voters whose support allowed the creation of this government, or the majority of the population that polls consistently show oppose Britain’s possession of nuclear weapons. The security challenges facing Britain are unrecognisable from those when Trident was ordered in the 1980s, yet it looks like we’ll spend the next few decades paying for the ‘like-for-like’ replacement, the case for which Nick Clegg described as ‘a complete fiction’.
“It is all the more extraordinary that this decision is going ahead when the United States and Russia have agreed bilateral nuclear warhead reductions and the recent UN Non-Proliferation conference has resoundingly endorsed the goal of a world without nuclear weapons.”
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The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is one of Europe’s biggest single-issue peace campaigns, with over 35,000 members in the UK. CND campaigns for the abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere.
Nick Clegg says Lib Dems won’t replace Trident because world has moved on, Tuesday 16 June .