Huppert challenges Minister on expert advice over Trident
June 19, 2012
A leading government Minister has rejected the “expert advice” of military generals over the controversial Trident nuclear weapons programme following a challenge from Cambridge MP, Julian Huppert,
Transport Minister, Philip Hammond dismissed claims by Field Marshal Lord Bramall, General Lord Ramsbotham and General Sir Hugh Beach that nuclear weapons are “completely useless as a deterrent to the threats we currently face”.
Yesterday (Monday, June 18) Julian asked Mr Hammond, during Topical Questions in the House of Commons, whether he agreed with the generals who also said “the case is much stronger for funding our armed forces with what they need to meet the commitments actually laid upon them”.
Mr Hammond said he found it “extraordinary that anyone can stand up in this House after 65 years of nuclear-armed peace and say that a strategic deterrent does not make people safer.”
“The possession of a strategic nuclear deterrent has ensured this country’s safety,” he said. “It ensured that we saw off the threat in the Cold War and it will ensure our security in the future.”
Mr Hammond’s comments came after the government announced that it was investing £1.1 billion over the next 11 years to pave the way for Trident renewal and retain the country’s ability to build submarine nuclear power plants.
Later Julian said: “We are facing major cuts to our front line troops and our armed forces do not have some of the equipment they need; yet we are spending billions of pounds on replacing an outdated nuclear defence system that we don’t need and don’t want.
“This view is supported by three leading generals who have experienced first-hand the threats that we are facing today. Yet the Conservatives are ignoring the evidence in front of them and pushing ahead with an investment programme which makes no sense.
“I will continue to challenge them on this issue until the Trident nuclear programme is consigned to the history books where it belongs.”
Julian is pictured at a recent CND demonstration against Trident.