liberal democrats

Liberal Democrat Conference 2013

Policy Motion: Defending the Future - UK Defense in the 21st Century - When the Liberal Democrats were out of government, their party conferences were lively affairs with policies being debated passionately, with a little less concern than the two other main parties over issues of achievability and credibility of such policies. Ideology was less tempered by practicality. Poetry, not prose.

Syria: lessons for the nuclear debate

The threat of military intervention in Syria in response to alleged chemical weapons use by Bashar Al-Assad’s government was put on hold this past week as U.S. and Russian Foreign Ministers, John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov, negotiated a deal that would see Syria sign up to the U.N. Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and hand their chemical weapons stockpile over to the international community. As we edge towards a decision, it may be valuable to reflect on the core arguments that have been driving the debate.

'Defending the Future': A rational approach to Britain's future nuclear arsenal

The UK faces a major strategic choice at the 2015 election over whether to renew the UK’s nuclear weapons systems beyond 2042. This briefing was commissioned by BASIC and WMD Awareness for the Liberal Democrat Party Annual Conference this month. It outlines the debate, the options, and other considerations that need to be taken into account by decision makers during this time of deliberation.

The Great British Trident Debate: 2013 Reviews, 2014 Scottish Referendum, 2015 General Election, 2016 Main Gate Decision

The Ministry of Defence budget appears to have escaped the level of swinging cuts experienced by many other departments in the Spending Review, as documents are released today. At least for now, plans to increase the (much reduced) equipment spend by 1% a year in real terms after 2015 are kept. But money will still play a defining role in the forthcoming Trident debate.

Policy officials and UK nuclear wonks are patiently awaiting the arrival of the long-anticipated government Trident Alternatives Review (TAR) that will outline options for the next British nuclear weapon platform and delivery system.

Beyond the Trident Alternatives Review

This brief, authored by Dr. Nick Ritchie, outlines opportunities and challenges arising from the UK government's ongoing Trident Alternatives Review. This briefing critiques weaknesses within the current thinking around Trident, outlines the key issues that need to be addressed, and highlights the opportunities that Britain has to demonstrate leadership on nuclear disarmament. Ritchie claims that this is a unique opportunity in the UK for an informed debate and addresses the key questions:

Labour Party defence in the debate on Trident

This week the Labour Party conference continues in Manchester. Shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy spoke this morning with a focus on defence spending and support for service personnel. However, the future of Britain’s nuclear arsenal hit the headlines in this year’s conference season, with last week’s headlines reporting comments from recent Defence Minister Nick Harvey about the government’s review on Trident alternatives at the Liberal Democrats conference.

Getting to Zero Update

NATO proceeded quietly with its Strategic Deterrence and Defense Posture Review, while U.S. and Russian disagreements over missile defense continued. The United States was also conducting a review of nuclear targeting. In the United Kingdom, the “successor” to the Vanguard-class submarine that carries Trident missiles officially entered “Initial Gate,” or the initial design phase.

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