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Trident submarine - official photo

Trident submarine – official photo

Local LibDems target Trident with public forum

One of the issues apparently decided by the outcome of the General Election is whether or not to renew Britain’s military nuclear capacity: Trident. The four Vanguard Class submarines that carry the Trident missiles will have to be replaced in 2028, which means that work on that project has already started on the drawing board. HOT’s Chris Cormack thinks there should still be scope for informed public debate, which is being offered by Hastings’ LibDems.

LibDems dare to offer Trident for debate

LibDems dare to offer Trident for debate

The Ministry of Defence has said it will cost £17.5bn to £23.4bn to procure the replacement system. That is the estimate at 2013-14 prices, of which, between £12.9bn and £16.4bn would be spent on the submarines themselves. The decision on whether or not to build those submarines will be taken in the life of this Parliament.

At the General Election, debate on Trident renewal focussed mainly on whether this was an issue that the Scottish Nationalists would force on a minority Labour government. The debate thus mainly missed the point. Hastings LibDems suggest that it is improbable, Mr. Putin notwithstanding, that Britain would ever use its nuclear weapons. Whatever the 2013-14 estimates may be, costs can be expected to rise, and in an austerity-strapped economy, there must be plenty of other things that the money could be spent on, say the forum organisers.

Nick Perry LibDem parliamentary candidate

Nick Perry LibDem parliamentary candidate

During the General Election campaign, Nick Perry, the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate, made public his opposition to Trident renewal and he would not want to see public debate on the issue of Trident and the UK’s nuclear weapons stifled, merely because of its adverse associations with Scottish nationalism.

There are several options to be considered: whether the weapons are to be renewed, replaced, or whether they are done away with altogether. All of these should considered. To that end, Hastings Liberal Democrats are holding one of their forums on Trident. The discussion will be led by Toby Fenwick, Research Associate of CentreForum, who can be expected to be controversial. He is author of ‘Retiring Trident: An alternative proposal for UK nuclear deterrence’ and a former HM
Treasury and DfID civil servant, having also served in the RAF intelligence reserve from 1995 to 2009. Toby, who has also written for Chatham House and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, said earlier this year that ‘defence and foreign policy had been the dogs that didn’t bark in the election campaign’. Better late than never?

The Forum on Trident renewal will be held at the White Rock Hotel    White Rock Hastings TN34 1JU on Wednesday 17 June at 7.30pm. Everyone welcome. 

For further information contact Stewart Rayment



Posted 15:29 Tuesday, Jun 2, 2015 In: Politics


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  1. Chris Cormack

    There are people who are in favour of unilateral nuclear disarmament per se and for whom cost is not a consideration. However there is probably a much greater number of people who are concerned at the cost of Trident at this time of austerity and the other public services we would have to forgo in order to pay for Trident.

    I am not a LibDem supporter but I welcome a debate which takes into account all considerations and options. I do not know whether the invited speaker represents a LibDem point of view, let alone official policy, but I doubt it. Since the LibDems were the only major party at the time to oppose the Iraq war, I think that Gabriel’s anti-LibDem rhetoric is unfair.

    To have a debate it is necessary to have more than one point of view discussed.

    Comment by Chris Cormack — Wednesday, Jun 10, 2015 @ 13:26

  2. Gabriel Carlyle

    Those who have grasped the full horror of nuclear weapons – as well as Britain’s official nuclear posture, which involves the threat and / or use of its nuclear weapons to preserve its economic and financial advantages throughout the world (see – are unlikely to favour a plan that retains 100 thermonuclear warheads, whatever the cost-savings. Likewise, those who have watched the UK take part in a string of illegal and immoral wars against Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yugoslavia etc… will not be comforted by the notion that the plans advocated in the Centre Forum report will ‘will significantly enhance
    the UK’s conventional force projection capabilities and precision conventional strike capability’. Chilling, but no less than one would expect from the Liberal Democrats.

    Comment by Gabriel Carlyle — Wednesday, Jun 10, 2015 @ 12:11

  3. Zelly Restorick

    Good job for promoting this forum, Chris. Important issue – and the decision to renew is surely deeply inter-connected with our relationship with the USA? Zelly

    Comment by Zelly Restorick — Tuesday, Jun 2, 2015 @ 15:31

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