The fourth of BASIC's 2016 Parliamentary Briefing series relating to the Trident debate focuses on the UK's role in multilateral nuclear disarmament.
David Cameron announced at the NATO summit in Warsaw on Saturday, “a parliamentary vote [to be held] on July 18 to confirm MP's support for the renewal of four nuclear submarines capable of providing around the clock cover”. Theresa May is expected to follow through with this decision.
BASIC's executive director, Paul Ingram, was quoted in this iNews article by Susie Coen about the world's number of nuclear weapons. While the reduction in numbers is a good thing, it is also a double-edged sword: “So while it is certainly to be welcomed that there are fewer warheads in the world this year than last, there are worrying dimensions beneath those figures that we need to be concerned about."
Richard Norton-Taylor has written an article for the Guardian on April 26th about the rising costs of Trident and has cited BASIC's input into the ongoing financial debate. Dr Nick Ritchie's recent publication tracing the increasing costs of a Trident replacement is directly quoted in this article and is also hyperlinked within the text.
Trident is in the news again, and will continue to generate heat in the run up to a parliamentary debate promised later this year on the programme and patrolling posture. But the outcome is clear, pre-determined in the minds of the political elite and to some extent in contractual and diplomatic commitments. For now. Could the equation change in the next parliament? The momentum behind the project appears unstoppable, but beware unexpected shocks before coming to a firm conclusion.
Innovative thinking is needed to overcome deeply entrenched attitudes and slow progress in the shared responsibility to strengthen nuclear non-proliferation measures and achieve global security through nuclear disarmament. This publication represents 14 months of investigation into how future nuclear weapons policy can become more relevant to the concerns and the security of the next generation.
The Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), planned for publication on 23 November 2015, is expected to include an update on the Trident renewal project and financial estimates. Main Gate decision is likely to be put to Parliament early 2016. Like every major government project, MoD procurement officials will have conducted a detailed confidential risk analysis for the construction, but this project requires a far broader, comprehensive risk analysis over a set of areas, as listed in this briefing.