South Shields MP raises concerns over nuclear weapons

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck has raised concerns over nuclear weapons during a session in Parliament.

Sunday, 28th March 2021, 4:40 pm
Vanguard-class submarine HMS Vigilant, one of the UK's four nuclear warhead-carrying submarines, at HM Naval Base Clyde. The issue of the UK's nuclear warheads stockpile has been back in the headlines during March 2021.

The politician quizzed Defence Secretary Ben Wallace after the controversial announcement that the UK was to raise its cap on the number of nuclear warheads.

In a major review of foreign and defence policy, the Government reversed a plan to decrease the number of nuclear warheads in its stockpile.

The Government had previously committed to reducing the level to a maximum of 180 by the middle of the decade, but now the stockpile could be up to 260.

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Ms Lewell-Buck said: “(Earlier in March) the Prime Minister was unable to state how the Government’s commitment to international law fitted with breaching article 6 of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

"The Defence Secretary has since said that the raising of the cap on the nuclear warhead stockpile is to ensure the UK has a credible nuclear deterrent in response to Russia and others, and that we will still have one of the lowest stockpiles. Will he explain for exactly how long our deterrent has not been credible?

"How does this increase—below others—make it now credible?

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace replied: “I am afraid that I cannot, at the Dispatch Box, tell people about the credibility of our nuclear deterrent in detail, because to do so would undermine its security.

“However, I can assure the hon. Lady that we keep it under review, and as we announced (earlier in March), it is important to increase the warheads in stockpile—which still makes us the lowest of the declared nuclear powers—to make sure it remains credible.”

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