I wanted to provide constituents with information about today’s vote on the UK’s Nuclear deterrent.
For the purposes of clarity, I will be voting to support the motion.
In order to understand why I have come to this decision, I want to explain several points. Firstly, it is worth posting the actual motion:
That this House supports the Government’s assessment in the 2015 National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review that the UK’s independent minimum credible nuclear deterrent, based on a Continuous at Sea Deterrence posture, will remain essential to the UK’s security today as it has for over 60 years, and for as long as the global security situation demands, to deter the most extreme threats to the UK’s national security and way of life and that of the UK’s allies; supports the decision to take the necessary steps required to maintain the current posture by replacing the current Vanguard Class submarines with four Successor submarines; recognises the importance of this programme to the UK’s defence industrial base and in supporting thousands of highly skilled engineering jobs; notes that the Government will continue to provide annual reports to Parliament on the programme; recognises that the UK remains committed to reducing its overall nuclear weapon stockpile by the mid-2020s; and supports the Government’s commitment to continue work towards a safer and more stable world, pressing for key steps towards multilateral disarmament.
The motion can be broken down to six elements, and my reasoning is as such:
- This asks that the House supports the principle that the UK maintain a credible nuclear deterrent. This has been the case for over 60 years, and successive Labour Governments have supported this position. In addition, it is important to remember that this was not only a part of Labour’s 2015 manifesto, but is a policy that was reaffirmed through a democratic vote on a motion put to the 2015 Labour Party Conference. This is the way the Labour Party makes policy, and how the parliamentary party works out which way to vote on most things.
- The replacement of the submarines is not the replacement of the nuclear warheads. It is an entirely different matter, and, importantly, does not mean the increasing of the amount or size of the UK’s nuclear weapons.
- The programme of work that will renew the submarines will safeguard thousands of good quality jobs and secure the industry for many years to come. It has long been the position of many unions, including Unite and GMB, that the UK’s nuclear deterrent should be maintained for these reasons.
- It is clear that the Government needs to maintain their commitment to provide regular, comprehensive reports on the progress of the programme.
- Parliament and Government will remain committed to reducing the number of nuclear weapons that the UK has, and I fully endorse this aim, as does the Labour Party.
- I am a proponent of multilateral disarmament, and support any action that reduces the number of nuclear weapons held by countries and helping to make the world a safe, stable and peaceful place. The Labour Party, and many unions, are working towards a defense diversification strategy, and I wholeheartedly support this.
It is for all these reasons that I will today vote to support the motion to maintain the UK’s nuclear deterrent and the programme to replace the Vanguard Class submarines with four Successor submarines. It will also be a vote to support the process of multilateral disarmament, a commitment to reduce the number of nuclear weapons the UK has, and the work to make the world a safer and more stable place.