ANALYSIS

Brexit: Impact on Trident

Flags

The potential fall-out from the UK vote to leave the EU cannot be over-estimated. The political, economic and constitutional implications are deeply uncertain. The market turmoil and the plunge in the value of the pound will translate into massive financial pressures on government spending. The pressures for constitutional referenda in Scotland and Northern Ireland have just strengthened dramatically.

Commons Vote on Trident Imminent?

House of Commons

Whilst the UK media is relishing the drama over Britain’s leaving the EU, speculation this week suggests the Conservative government may rush a Trident vote through the Commons in July. It would do this to move on from a damaged referendum debate, and divert attention to a deeply divided Labour Party. This is clearly a temptation, but if they do go down this route it would represent an infantile inability to delay gratification for much greater political return later. Trident is a goose that just keeps laying the golden eggs for the Conservatives. An early slaughter would be the height of madness. The clever money is on a vote rather closer to or after the end of the year.

The 2016 Nuclear Security Summit returns to Washington

NSS2014

 

In his 2009 speech in Prague, President Obama described the threat of terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons as the “most immediate and extreme threat to global security”. Setting the bar high, he also announced the start of a global summit process that would focus on the security of nuclear materials from the threat of theft and terrorism in and work “to secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years”.

Trident is Vulnerable

A debate is now raging over BASIC's exposure of the threat emerging technologies present to the future viability of Trident submarines. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) states they do not believe it is a problem, and that even if it were submarines would still be the best, most stealthy platform for nuclear missiles. The confidence implied in the MoD's public line is unjustified, and must surely cover up a deep concern held by strategists for the future viability of its most expensive weapon system.

The OEWG is taking multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations forward

UN Geneva

The new Open-ended Working Group (OEWG), established in United Nations General Assembly Resolution 70/33 adopted in December 2015, opened on 22 February in Geneva. It will meet over the course of 15 working days in February, May and August of 2016 and submit a final report in October.