04/02/2016 Newsnight


04/02/2016

A Newsnight special on Trident - is it the right way to keep us safe? Is it the only way? Dissussion with politicians, international experts and the military. With Kirsty Wark.


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Tonight, a special programme on Trident -

:00:09.:00:10.

our nuclear weapon of choice.

:00:11.:00:14.

We are fully loaded with all the key players, politicians,

:00:15.:00:22.

international experts and the military.

:00:23.:00:35.

It could cost as much as ?41 billion.

:00:36.:00:39.

Labour is divided, the SNP is dead against it.

:00:40.:00:41.

Trident is a weapon designed for a Cold War world.

:00:42.:00:47.

In the? -- and who would attack us if we did not have it?

:00:48.:01:01.

Time is of the essence the government says.

:01:02.:01:03.

They need to get the renewal plan signed off this year,

:01:04.:01:06.

so we, ahead of them, are debating all this tonight.

:01:07.:01:08.

First here's our Diplomatic and Defence Editor Mark Urban.

:01:09.:01:12.

Britain's Trident submarines are ageing. And the government wants to

:01:13.:01:21.

replace them. That will cost ?31 billion, a massive amount for a

:01:22.:01:23.

system capable of unleashing massive destruction. Obliterating cities

:01:24.:01:31.

thousands of miles away in minutes. Trident Systems are the right choice

:01:32.:01:39.

for the UK because of its own vulnerability, being under the

:01:40.:01:47.

water. -- it's on in vulnerability. It is quiet, and continually in the

:01:48.:01:51.

contact so it is ready to be used whenever it is required. Britain's

:01:52.:01:58.

nuclear deterrent, for perhaps the next five years, blue steel is ready

:01:59.:02:02.

and operational. In the 50s, Britain's ability to mount a nuclear

:02:03.:02:07.

strike rescued with this bomber force. But despite spending on the

:02:08.:02:12.

aircraft and missiles designed to beat enemy defences, the bombers

:02:13.:02:17.

soon gave way to submarines. Impressive as the Vulcan may have

:02:18.:02:24.

been, there was a recognition by the mid 1960s that it could no longer

:02:25.:02:30.

play a key role in Britain's nuclear force. The feeling was that Soviet

:02:31.:02:34.

air defences had become so dense around Moscow and other key targets

:02:35.:02:38.

that he bomber would not be able to get through to them. And that

:02:39.:02:43.

yardstick, the ability to hit key places in Russia must still remains

:02:44.:02:49.

important today. Trident is a high-end system with a price to

:02:50.:02:54.

match. Being submarine launched, it can lurk under the sea, invisible

:02:55.:03:00.

and very hard to destroy. The missile's range is over 5000 miles,

:03:01.:03:03.

and allows it to hit targets fire from the sea. And once it is

:03:04.:03:09.

launched, it carries multiple warheads to the aiming point in less

:03:10.:03:15.

than 20 minutes. Trident was chosen to meet the Moscow criterion, the

:03:16.:03:21.

judgment central to British nuclear weapons decision-making for decades.

:03:22.:03:25.

That is the ability to overwhelm the anti-missile defences around the

:03:26.:03:28.

Russian capital. It is essential if Britain on its own is to be able to

:03:29.:03:33.

threaten the target dearest to Russia, Moscow. It is about politics

:03:34.:03:40.

more than it is about the military. Because it is about being close to

:03:41.:03:46.

the Americans and the ability to strike at the very heart of the

:03:47.:03:51.

Russian system. And we are talking about just Russia and just Moscow.

:03:52.:03:58.

Abandon the requirement for continuous at sea deterrent, and you

:03:59.:04:02.

can have three submarines instead of four. The saving would not be huge,

:04:03.:04:05.

because most of the system would still have to be bought. But abandon

:04:06.:04:10.

the Moscow criterion, and the choices widen further. You could,

:04:11.:04:16.

for example, threaten St Petersburg, Murmansk or any other city on or

:04:17.:04:22.

near a coast with submarine launched cruise missiles. So why not switch

:04:23.:04:26.

the Trident border to a hunter killer submarine and armed them with

:04:27.:04:33.

nuclear cruise missiles? The way the deterrent system operates is

:04:34.:04:37.

different to a cruise missile. A cruise missile goes I and has a

:04:38.:04:48.

limited range of 1000 miles. A deterrent rocket goes into space and

:04:49.:04:55.

it has a completely different way of penetrating to hit targets. They are

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completely different systems. You cannot compare them. The other

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options discussed in recent years, the significant one is the idea of

:05:08.:05:12.

arming jets with bombs or missiles. One of the options kicked around a

:05:13.:05:15.

couple of years ago by the government in one of its papers was

:05:16.:05:27.

reintroducing something like this. The WE177 free nuclear bomb taken

:05:28.:05:30.

note of British service in 1998. It is certainly cheap, but its

:05:31.:05:34.

effectiveness would have to be called into question if the aircraft

:05:35.:05:39.

flying it had to go against any kind of sophisticated air defence system.

:05:40.:05:45.

-- freefall nuclear bomb. With countries like Pakistan and Israel

:05:46.:05:47.

owning sizeable nuclear countries like Pakistan and Israel

:05:48.:05:54.

or others like North Korea, under dictators, Trident might have to be

:05:55.:05:59.

credible in a variety of scenarios. But it is the Kremlin's recent

:06:00.:06:03.

language, the development of new nuclear weapons, that keeps bringing

:06:04.:06:08.

the calculus back to Russia. Russia is embarking on a substantial and

:06:09.:06:11.

wide ranging modernisation programme that will replace its Soviet nuclear

:06:12.:06:18.

systems, and as those programmes unfold, including new

:06:19.:06:22.

intercontinental ballistic missiles, it is very difficult to avoid the

:06:23.:06:28.

impression that the Russians are emphasising the role of nuclear

:06:29.:06:33.

weapons in their national doctrine. But what of those emerging nuclear

:06:34.:06:39.

powers? What possible missions might those forces have to perform at the

:06:40.:06:46.

conventional level? Will the Trident replacement suck money out of the

:06:47.:06:50.

rest of the fence? The judgment for Britain is therefore what

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rest of the fence? The judgment for is willing to pay to forestall an

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unlikely but potentially cataclysmic confrontation. In

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unlikely but potentially cataclysmic much is it willing to underfund

:06:59.:07:03.

unlikely but potentially cataclysmic ability to respond to more likely

:07:04.:07:04.

emergencies. A little earlier I spoke

:07:05.:07:07.

to the Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, the man in charge

:07:08.:07:10.

of delivering Trident's renewal I put it to him that Britain's

:07:11.:07:13.

nuclear arsenal was an unnecessary Well, they are needed

:07:14.:07:18.

now more than ever. Other states are trying to develop

:07:19.:07:22.

nuclear weapons and there is always, thirdly, the risk that a state

:07:23.:07:27.

developing nuclear weapons might give that nuclear weapon

:07:28.:07:29.

to a terrorist organisation. So the end of the Cold War does not

:07:30.:07:34.

mean the end of the need for the nuclear

:07:35.:07:38.

deterrent, far from it. I want to come onto whether Trident

:07:39.:07:42.

is fit for purpose more in a moment but let's just stick

:07:43.:07:45.

with this idea that you have Germany doesn't have a nuclear

:07:46.:07:48.

weapon, it's under the same But it's within the nuclear

:07:49.:07:51.

umbrella of Nato. They live within the protection

:07:52.:07:54.

of those countries. But France, the United States

:07:55.:07:57.

and ourselves have nuclear weapons, the rest of Nato enjoys

:07:58.:08:01.

the protection that that gives and, by the way, a number of their air

:08:02.:08:03.

forces are committed and ready to be But if anyone attacked Germany

:08:04.:08:07.

or threatened Germany, you are suggesting that Nato,

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or particularly America, Yes, the point of the Nato Alliance

:08:15.:08:17.

is we would all come to each other's aid in the event of an armed

:08:18.:08:23.

attack on one another. But the same would go,

:08:24.:08:26.

we don't have to have a Nato weapon to be protected on our

:08:27.:08:32.

behalf by America, do we? No, but we do have nuclear weapons,

:08:33.:08:38.

we can't disinvent them. We happen to have nuclear weapons

:08:39.:08:40.

and by stopping having nuclear weapons we would be sending out

:08:41.:08:49.

a signal to the rest of the world that we're not prepared to continue

:08:50.:08:53.

as part of that nuclear Can you see any scenario,

:08:54.:08:55.

if we didn't have nuclear weapons, that America

:08:56.:09:01.

wouldn't come to our aid? Well, we would certainly be a much

:09:02.:09:03.

weaker part of Nato if we decided Why should the United States defend

:09:04.:09:07.

the rest of Europe when it is not So you think there is a scenario

:09:08.:09:11.

in which a Britain without a nuclear weapon could be left

:09:12.:09:18.

high and dry by America? We would certainly be

:09:19.:09:20.

downgraded by America, America would be bound to ask

:09:21.:09:23.

questions, why it should defend Europe if Europe is not

:09:24.:09:26.

prepared to defend itself. Let's talk specifically

:09:27.:09:30.

about Russia. Is Vladimir Putin in this

:09:31.:09:33.

incarnation more dangerous Well, we have seen something

:09:34.:09:35.

we didn't think, I didn't think We have seen him trying to change

:09:36.:09:40.

international borders by force in Europe, by annexing the Crimea,

:09:41.:09:44.

by his aggression in the Ukraine, we have seen intimidatory long-range

:09:45.:09:49.

aviation around the edges of our airspace, around the edges

:09:50.:09:51.

of the Baltics and Norway. And we have seen an increase

:09:52.:10:01.

in submarine activity. And we see him

:10:02.:10:04.

modernising his conventional weapons If he's modernising his nuclear

:10:05.:10:05.

weapon, he's threatening all of us, frankly, and that is why we have

:10:06.:10:12.

to keep the nuclear and conventional Let's talk about what kind

:10:13.:10:15.

of nuclear weapon, do we need Do we need to continue thinking

:10:16.:10:19.

about the Moscow criterion? We have looked into all of this

:10:20.:10:34.

and nuclear weapons carried by airplanes, it makes them much

:10:35.:10:37.

more overt and obvious, And, indeed, they

:10:38.:10:39.

are more expensive. Moscow is a city

:10:40.:10:42.

of 12 million souls. Well, I am not go into the targeting

:10:43.:10:45.

of our nuclear weapons We're not aiming them

:10:46.:10:49.

at Russian cities. But the whole purpose of having

:10:50.:10:52.

nuclear weapons is that any of our adversaries,

:10:53.:10:54.

whether they are rogue states or those countries that have nuclear

:10:55.:10:56.

weapons at the moment, should be left unsure

:10:57.:10:59.

as to the precise circumstances The problem is that people

:11:00.:11:01.

in the United Kingdom think broadly We have the capability to hit a jeep

:11:02.:11:07.

with huge precision and we've got But right now, with fewer

:11:08.:11:16.

than 100 cruise missiles, we don't have the ability to mount

:11:17.:11:20.

another conventional war, At the last strategic review

:11:21.:11:22.

we were expanding our expeditionary We could certainly mount a Gulf War

:11:23.:11:35.

operation again because we're We're increasing the size of them

:11:36.:11:41.

and the power of them. Last year, the cost

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of replacing the four subs rose It sits at ?31 billion

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and suddenly there is another Suddenly we are at ?41 billion

:11:52.:11:56.

to replace these submarines, does it matter what the cost is,

:11:57.:12:06.

you are going to do it anyway? We need to get good value for money

:12:07.:12:09.

for this, it is a big programme. Can you guarantee that that

:12:10.:12:14.

would not go up from ?31 billion between now and putting this

:12:15.:12:17.

all into practice or before Well, I hope we will not be

:12:18.:12:19.

using the contingency and we're setting up a new delivery

:12:20.:12:23.

body to deliver these submarines So it's ?41 billion, if you need it,

:12:24.:12:26.

that is ring-fenced? Absolutely, it's part

:12:27.:12:43.

of our equipment programme, it is built in to the Ministry

:12:44.:12:47.

of Defence budget. For people who are hard pressed

:12:48.:12:49.

and worried about hospitals, schools and whatever,

:12:50.:12:52.

they want to know, presumably, if, indeed, they support this,

:12:53.:12:53.

that the cost is not going to spiral and it is not going to be at

:12:54.:12:57.

the expense of conventional forces? It's around 6% of the defence

:12:58.:13:01.

budget in a normal year. The Defence Select Committee

:13:02.:13:07.

says get on with it. If you don't make a decision

:13:08.:13:10.

in 2016, what happens? We want Parliament to endorse

:13:11.:13:15.

the decision to have a contingency deterrent and to deliver

:13:16.:13:18.

it through four boats. We want that decision this year

:13:19.:13:20.

so that Parliament is behind it. within weeks and by the numbers

:13:21.:13:22.

the Government are expected It is official Labour policy

:13:23.:13:29.

at the moment to support the government, but it is clearly

:13:30.:13:33.

not that straightforward. Jeremy Corbyn's leadership has

:13:34.:13:35.

thrown that policy into question. And Labour has historically had

:13:36.:13:37.

difficulties with backing nuclear weapons, as our Political Editor,

:13:38.:13:40.

David Grossman, reports. They are the focus of evil

:13:41.:13:52.

in the modern world. Over the past seven decades

:13:53.:14:09.

of nuclear drama, in the background and sometimes in secret,

:14:10.:14:13.

it has often been the Labour Party building, updating and sustaining

:14:14.:14:16.

our nuclear weapons. It has been pragmatic

:14:17.:14:24.

and it needed to be. There have been times in recent

:14:25.:14:28.

history where Labour has adopted, for example, a unilateral

:14:29.:14:31.

disarmament policy and the voters have told us what they think

:14:32.:14:33.

of that and rightly so. But I think for most of the period

:14:34.:14:37.

where we have had nuclear weapons, the Labour Party has

:14:38.:14:40.

supported the acquisition It is a defensive system

:14:41.:14:42.

to protect our national security, And to be willing, as the last

:14:43.:14:46.

Labour government was under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown,

:14:47.:14:53.

to make effective steps to make sure our nuclear weapons

:14:54.:14:57.

are the minimum we need Well before Blair, it was Attlee's

:14:58.:15:01.

government who built the first In 1964, Harold Wilson could have

:15:02.:15:08.

cancelled our first submarine system, Polaris,

:15:09.:15:17.

before it was built. He hinted he might, but in secret

:15:18.:15:19.

he gave the go-ahead. And his successor as Labour leader,

:15:20.:15:21.

Jim Callaghan, fought the '79 election on a promise

:15:22.:15:24.

not to renew Polaris. But away from the gaze

:15:25.:15:26.

of the public and colleagues, He commissioned studies, a big,

:15:27.:15:29.

secret study of the options On the grounds that whoever won

:15:30.:15:37.

the '79 election would have And on his last morning

:15:38.:15:40.

in Number 10 Downing Street, and I have seen the document,

:15:41.:15:44.

he leaves written instructions for Mrs Thatcher to be given

:15:45.:15:46.

the research and the R and the possibilities

:15:47.:15:49.

and the options because there is a rule in Whitehall that

:15:50.:15:51.

you don't see the papers But Jim said Mrs Thatcher

:15:52.:15:54.

needs to see this. So, Jim had to keep it away

:15:55.:15:59.

from the full Cabinet and even from his Cabinet

:16:00.:16:02.

committee structure. Michael Foot, his deputy

:16:03.:16:03.

in the Cabinet, wasn't Like Michael Foot, Jeremy Corbyn

:16:04.:16:05.

favours Britain giving But the polls suggest voters don't

:16:06.:16:11.

agree consistently by about two This could present Jeremy Corbyn

:16:12.:16:16.

with two electoral problems. And secondly, it plays

:16:17.:16:25.

into the hands of the Conservatives, who will simply use that to enforce

:16:26.:16:28.

the broader narrative that That trust may not have been helped

:16:29.:16:38.

by the Labour leader's recent nuclear submarines to preserve

:16:39.:16:45.

jobs but not arm them It has also been suggested that

:16:46.:16:48.

Labour may give MPs a free vote when the issue comes before

:16:49.:16:55.

the Commons, possibly next month. People are still entitled to ask

:16:56.:17:01.

of the Labour Party as the official opposition, what is your

:17:02.:17:03.

official position? What is your policy

:17:04.:17:04.

in relation to the retention And I think we have got

:17:05.:17:11.

to have an answer to that question. conscience to decide whether we do

:17:12.:17:18.

or don't retain nuclear weapons. We have to have a policy,

:17:19.:17:20.

to be clear to the country about how we will defend this country

:17:21.:17:24.

against nuclear threats and members and sell

:17:25.:17:26.

unilateralism to voters. Joining me now is Emily Thornberry,

:17:27.:17:48.

Labour's Shadow Defence Secretary and the person leading Labour's

:17:49.:17:51.

review into the party's policy you are against Trident and you have

:17:52.:18:06.

attended CMD rallies, while a Jeremy Corbyn bring you in and remove Maria

:18:07.:18:12.

Eagle? You must ask Jeremy that. As to why he gave me that position. I

:18:13.:18:17.

will begin my review by saying I am sceptical about Trident but

:18:18.:18:22.

everything is on the table, nothing has been taken off and we will

:18:23.:18:26.

follow the evidence. You are not simply sceptical, but have been

:18:27.:18:32.

committed as a campaigner? I voted against Trident renewal in 2007 and

:18:33.:18:36.

the main mother went to Greenham Common, I did not go with because I

:18:37.:18:41.

thought nuclear weapons were necessary, I was frightened by the

:18:42.:18:45.

Russians but I think things might have moved on. The review is what

:18:46.:18:49.

will be the 21st century threats to Britain and how to keep written safe

:18:50.:18:54.

and we need to ask honest questions and to do a proper review. It will

:18:55.:18:57.

be about Trident at all of the threats. This review will not be

:18:58.:19:04.

available and ready in time for the vote next month? It will be an

:19:05.:19:10.

interim report? Yes. I launched a review within a few days of getting

:19:11.:19:15.

the post, it is Labour Party policy to have a review and we're having a

:19:16.:19:21.

review. If the vote takes place next month, presumably Labour will vote

:19:22.:19:24.

with the government? We have to make that decision, we don't know what

:19:25.:19:29.

the government wants us to vote on, they talk about this as a main gate

:19:30.:19:33.

decision, the point of no return but the strategic defence review says

:19:34.:19:38.

they will not have a main gate decision so they might be asking for

:19:39.:19:42.

another vote in principle which is the same thing as in 2007. I think

:19:43.:19:47.

they are just trying to kick the can find the road. If it is a main gate

:19:48.:19:53.

vote, you don't know that for sure, but... They say it will not be. If

:19:54.:19:59.

it was... It still could be, you would have to vote for it because

:20:00.:20:05.

you are for replacing Vanguard submarines. On the submarine vote,

:20:06.:20:10.

you will vote for it? The policy is to have a review at this stage. I

:20:11.:20:14.

would need to get this straight, they have said they are not going to

:20:15.:20:19.

have a main gate vote, they say it is too collocated, you want a vote

:20:20.:20:24.

in principle. And they want to set up this arms body which will need

:20:25.:20:32.

primary legislation. It is important we understand they are playing

:20:33.:20:38.

games. You want the new submarines? We want the best thing for us to be

:20:39.:20:41.

doing in terms of making Britain safe. What are you considering? All

:20:42.:20:48.

of the options, we're also looking at the wide range of new threats,

:20:49.:20:53.

such as the best way to respond to terrorism, failed states, cyber

:20:54.:20:58.

attacks, there are many different things and be spending money in the

:20:59.:21:00.

right way when it comes to conventional forces? We have 60

:21:01.:21:06.

strikers at the moment and the electrics keep going. We can put a

:21:07.:21:10.

destroyer in a dangerous place and it can stop going. The fundamental

:21:11.:21:14.

decision for you will be whether or not you support the Trident

:21:15.:21:20.

programme or not. Can you conceive of the outcome of any review which

:21:21.:21:25.

says that you support replacement submarines for Trident and keeping

:21:26.:21:29.

Trident? In your conscience, can you think that would be any outcome of

:21:30.:21:35.

this? The Labour Party is split. I can say honestly this review is

:21:36.:21:39.

being done in an open way, it is to be done whereby we look at all of

:21:40.:21:42.

the evidence and follow the evidence. It is really important

:21:43.:21:48.

that we have a proper base in this country to look at this really

:21:49.:21:51.

important decision. Are you seriously suggesting that there

:21:52.:21:55.

could be one option which I gather Jeremy Corbyn has floated that you

:21:56.:21:59.

would have the submarines without any warheads? There are a number of

:22:00.:22:04.

possibilities. Is that a go? I will not starting out -- I will not start

:22:05.:22:11.

talking about hypotheticals, this will take as long as it takes. It

:22:12.:22:16.

might be helpful to the Labour Party to do an interim report at the

:22:17.:22:19.

beginning of the summer which will feed into party policy, which will

:22:20.:22:26.

be at the conference in the autumn. Would you be disappointed if it was

:22:27.:22:30.

renewed and how could you be Shadow Defence Secretary, standing up in

:22:31.:22:33.

support of Trident if you personally disagree? We will make a decision

:22:34.:22:40.

collectively on the evidence. I wonder why you are shying away from

:22:41.:22:44.

saying this because you have been adamant in the past that your

:22:45.:22:47.

anti-Trident and you now supposedly are free to discuss this and yet,

:22:48.:22:54.

following your conscience, you could stand there as Shadow Defence

:22:55.:22:58.

Secretary, possibly at the end of this review, and say, miraculously,

:22:59.:23:04.

Trident is right. No, I'm a pragmatist and in the 1980s I was in

:23:05.:23:08.

favour of nuclear deterrence and since then, in 2007 I voted against

:23:09.:23:13.

because it seemed at that stage that it was out of date and it was a

:23:14.:23:18.

20th-century weapon not necessary for the 21st century. But before we

:23:19.:23:23.

make of the decision, it is quite right for the opposition to look at

:23:24.:23:25.

all of the evidence and ask questions. If you look at the

:23:26.:23:31.

opinion polls, I cannot see why Labour should terror itself apart

:23:32.:23:35.

when this is not an issue, it will happen anyway if the government puts

:23:36.:23:40.

it through unless it is some bold from the blue. Why choose this

:23:41.:23:46.

subject? Is this ideology? Do you think it is appropriate for the

:23:47.:23:51.

opposition to wade through a decision of ?41 billion at a time

:23:52.:23:56.

when we don't have enough aircraft to be able to patrol our shores? We

:23:57.:24:02.

can see nuclear submarines on the coast of Scotland and we don't have

:24:03.:24:07.

the aircraft to follow them, we are making serious decisions about

:24:08.:24:10.

conventional forces and we're not looking at whether or not this

:24:11.:24:14.

replacement is the appropriate platform for the 21st century to

:24:15.:24:18.

make us safe. People talk about an insurance policy at the death --

:24:19.:24:25.

difficulty is, you can get caught in thinking that this is all we need

:24:26.:24:29.

and in the 21st century there are some very big threats out there and

:24:30.:24:32.

we need to make sure we are taking them seriously and making the

:24:33.:24:35.

appropriate decisions. Thank you. With me to discuss

:24:36.:24:38.

are Admiral Lord West, former First Sea Lord

:24:39.:24:39.

and Security Minister. John Woodcock, Labour MP

:24:40.:24:42.

for Barrow-in-Furness, Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP

:24:43.:24:44.

and vice-president for the Campaign And Brendan O'Hara, SNP

:24:45.:24:49.

defence spokesperson. John Woodcock, what do you make of

:24:50.:25:04.

what was just said? The one thing I think is clear that Labour members

:25:05.:25:10.

are looking at this, they must understand this is not just the

:25:11.:25:14.

Labour Party wading through a decision as if it has had no time to

:25:15.:25:18.

think, the Labour government in 2007 started this programme. We then

:25:19.:25:23.

looked at this extensively in opposition under Ed Miliband and at

:25:24.:25:29.

the time he was sceptical and took him some time to actually recommit

:25:30.:25:35.

to the policy of re-Newell with the submarine ballistic missile system.

:25:36.:25:40.

There was an exhaustive process going through the national policy

:25:41.:25:46.

forum. It has been done? And we have a manifesto commitment to do this

:25:47.:25:53.

and that was significant. That policy was reaffirmed at the last

:25:54.:25:56.

party conference and we will have a vote, let us hope, according to the

:25:57.:26:02.

industrial timetable, as soon as possible and certainly this year and

:26:03.:26:06.

myself and I think many of my Parliamentary colleagues are clear,

:26:07.:26:09.

we will be supporting the government. Brendan O'Hara, the SNP

:26:10.:26:17.

position is one that... You don't want to have Trident in Scotland and

:26:18.:26:23.

yet you would be happy and content to be under the umbrella of Nato if

:26:24.:26:29.

any attack came? Is that a preposterous position? Not at all.

:26:30.:26:36.

If you look at Norway and Canada, who are members of Nato, full

:26:37.:26:40.

members, they will not unlike nuclear weapons on their soil. What

:26:41.:26:46.

we have said quite clearly is postindependence, we will have these

:26:47.:26:52.

responsibilities, like any other country, we would be a member of

:26:53.:26:57.

Nato and we would want to be a member of Nato but under strict

:26:58.:27:01.

conditions that they are except we would not have nuclear weapons on

:27:02.:27:05.

our soil. Norway has never had weapons, it is different to be a

:27:06.:27:10.

member and then get rid of them, you would be the first country to do so.

:27:11.:27:13.

And that would send out a powerful signal that we do not need nuclear

:27:14.:27:18.

weapons, Scotland could use its influence for extreme goodbye

:27:19.:27:25.

getting rid of them. There is no contradiction between wanting to

:27:26.:27:30.

remain a member of Nato and not allowing nuclear weapons. Did you

:27:31.:27:34.

say that they are morally indefensible? To have them? Yet you

:27:35.:27:41.

want to snuggle in behind America with its protection? With the

:27:42.:27:49.

nuclear Alliance. And you think the morally revolted -- repugnant? Were

:27:50.:27:58.

pressing for nonproliferation and working towards... Norway made the

:27:59.:28:08.

case for nonproliferation. Let me bring in Lord West. That would be

:28:09.:28:17.

some towards disarmament. Lord West, you are the man in charge of Trident

:28:18.:28:19.

from 2002. You have said that you you are the man in charge of Trident

:28:20.:28:33.

think of us if we got rid of Trident? They

:28:34.:28:37.

think of us if we got rid of made it very clear, it will

:28:38.:28:39.

think of us if we got rid of extraordinary thing to do and we

:28:40.:28:42.

would be the first country to ever give up nuclear weapons. We have

:28:43.:28:46.

done more than any other country in the world to reduce our weapons

:28:47.:28:52.

stocks, to just one system, and it has had zero impact on stopping new

:28:53.:28:58.

nations getting them. The number of states are increasing. And therefore

:28:59.:29:02.

I think you have far more never rich, we have the minimum credible

:29:03.:29:08.

deterrent, you have more leverage in a multilateral

:29:09.:29:09.

deterrent, you have more leverage in those weapons and say, let

:29:10.:29:12.

deterrent, you have more leverage in how many we have got. If you are

:29:13.:29:18.

designing a weapon right now, Trident would not be the weapon you

:29:19.:29:23.

would design for this year? You are absolutely

:29:24.:29:29.

would design for this year? You are other systems you talk

:29:30.:29:32.

would design for this year? You are end up costing more, there would be

:29:33.:29:35.

treaty issues and actually, yes, it has the Moscow materia,

:29:36.:29:41.

treaty issues and actually, yes, it system but replacing something. It

:29:42.:29:41.

just happens system but replacing something. It

:29:42.:29:48.

else would cost more money. We have that fell in Britain is on

:29:49.:29:51.

else would cost more money. We have and becoming more aggressive. How

:29:52.:29:51.

would you In a system that sends out a signal

:29:52.:30:03.

that other countries should acquire a weapon because we have one. -- I

:30:04.:30:07.

would not be putting my faith in a system. And I certainly would not be

:30:08.:30:12.

doing it when 135 countries are currently

:30:13.:30:15.

doing it when 135 countries are nuclear treaty. To answer your

:30:16.:30:18.

doing it when 135 countries are question, I would not be blocking

:30:19.:30:18.

the question, I would not be blocking

:30:19.:30:22.

to put in place a nuclear question, I would not be blocking

:30:23.:30:25.

treaty. If we had that treaty, we question, I would not be blocking

:30:26.:30:29.

could start focusing... But unlike Brenda's position,

:30:30.:30:30.

could start focusing... But unlike that you do not want the umbrella of

:30:31.:30:34.

Nato. You are happy to fight it out on your own? Let's challenge the

:30:35.:30:39.

word deterrent. Let's call it weapons of mass destruction. We have

:30:40.:30:44.

talked about the deterrent, but it is not a deterrent. It is a

:30:45.:30:48.

talked about the deterrent, but it deterrent. You cannot prove

:30:49.:30:50.

something. This is incredibly important. You would have to be able

:30:51.:30:55.

to prove that by not doing something something else has happened and you

:30:56.:30:59.

cannot prove that. Somebody who smokes 100 cigarettes a day, and

:31:00.:31:01.

lives to an old age, smokes 100 cigarettes a day, and

:31:02.:31:06.

that that smoker... That is exactly what he is saying. I have no

:31:07.:31:13.

that that smoker... That is exactly if Japan had been able to drop

:31:14.:31:14.

atomic weapons. The arrogance of people who think they can say in the

:31:15.:31:19.

next 50 years that there will not be a country or somebody, a country

:31:20.:31:24.

that might threaten dropping a nuclear weapons. May I finish, the

:31:25.:31:27.

only thing you can be sure of is that if you have the ability to

:31:28.:31:31.

destroy the country that wants to bomb you, they will not drop it.

:31:32.:31:36.

Let's be honest, Trident is not a defensive weapon. It is a political

:31:37.:31:41.

weapon. It is there to keep the United Kingdom on the top table of

:31:42.:31:44.

the United Nations. It is a deterrent. Tony Blair is not someone

:31:45.:31:50.

I caught very often in these matters but he is in his memoirs said they

:31:51.:31:54.

looked at Trident and said as a military weapon it was useless but

:31:55.:32:02.

its cost was astronomical. I am glad to see I do not agree with

:32:03.:32:07.

everything Tony Blair says. But they would not do it. Is it really a

:32:08.:32:12.

deterrent? There is no certainty in any of this. Would we be safer with

:32:13.:32:20.

Russia's proliferation with other countries acquiring the bomb if we

:32:21.:32:24.

were to get rid of it? I think it is hard to... On that point. On the

:32:25.:32:33.

Tony Blair point, very briefly. Tony has changed his mind on this since

:32:34.:32:38.

he wrote those memoirs. Tony Blair said it would be a downgrading of

:32:39.:32:44.

Britain's status as a nation. The rise of Russia has made him change

:32:45.:32:51.

his mind. But do you buy the argument that, why should we be

:32:52.:32:55.

stopping other countries having nuclear weapons if we have them

:32:56.:33:01.

ourselves? We are not superior, it is because one is where one is. You

:33:02.:33:07.

are great you are. And you say, actually, if I were Germany, for

:33:08.:33:11.

example, to try to actually get a sensible nuclear weapons system, it

:33:12.:33:14.

would be a cost way beyond anything you could imagine. Brazil got rid of

:33:15.:33:20.

nuclear weapons. You can do it if the political will is there. Do you

:33:21.:33:26.

justify... In the next 50 years, none of us can predict, nobody can

:33:27.:33:30.

predict and the people who say they can predict are talking nonsense. I

:33:31.:33:35.

believe that this is an ultimate weight... Chatham House, a couple of

:33:36.:33:39.

years ago, they reported that since 1962 there have been 13 near misses

:33:40.:33:43.

because of human error, technological error. First of all,

:33:44.:33:48.

the rid the risk of accidents and secondly, underwater drones. --

:33:49.:33:52.

there is the risk of accidents. The idea that these Trident nuclear

:33:53.:33:55.

weapons are going to be safe, it is absolutely rubbish. Everything that

:33:56.:34:02.

goes into Trident comes out of a conventional defence system. Our

:34:03.:34:06.

conventional defences are being sacrificed at the altar of Trident.

:34:07.:34:09.

Anyone who says that is deluded. They honestly think in Whitehall, if

:34:10.:34:16.

they think the money from Trident will go into conventional defence

:34:17.:34:19.

they are deluding themselves. The Treasury have made it clear that

:34:20.:34:23.

will not happen. In the first four years, if you got rid of it, it

:34:24.:34:27.

would cost extra money. But on a single one of those four submarines,

:34:28.:34:31.

the missiles from that would kill 10 million civilians and Castor that

:34:32.:34:35.

area of the planet into a nuclear winter. Are we really thinking that

:34:36.:34:40.

is the best way in the 21st century to try to resolve our affairs.

:34:41.:34:48.

Whatever the decision is that is taken, it will not be taken in a

:34:49.:34:50.

vacuum. Our Nato allies have skin

:34:51.:34:50.

in the game, and as Michael Fallon said, we face a resurgent,

:34:51.:34:53.

aggressive Russia whose roar Without Britain, France alone

:34:54.:34:56.

in Europe would bear The French stockpile is 50% bigger

:34:57.:35:07.

than Britain's and whereas Britain now only has the Trident system,

:35:08.:35:18.

France keeps air launch nuclear Well, talk to decision makers

:35:19.:35:21.

from other Nato countries and they're not that keen

:35:22.:35:31.

on Britain renouncing Even France in the recent past has

:35:32.:35:33.

shown interest in joint submarine patrol plans, or developing new air

:35:34.:35:38.

launch weapons with the UK. Leaders in Germany or the countries

:35:39.:35:48.

of Eastern Europe tend to give strong support to the idea

:35:49.:35:50.

of Britain retaining a central role in European defence,

:35:51.:35:53.

with nuclear weapons. And recent examples of nuclear

:35:54.:35:54.

sabre-rattling by President Putin have just confirmed

:35:55.:35:58.

them in that view. TRANSLATION: This year our nuclear

:35:59.:36:03.

forces will get more than 40 new intercontinental ballistic

:36:04.:36:06.

missiles which are capable of overcoming any anti-missile

:36:07.:36:10.

systems, even the most technically Underlying much of this debate

:36:11.:36:12.

is an uncertainty in Europe as to whether they could really

:36:13.:36:21.

stand up to their Easter neighbour, and whether the United States might

:36:22.:36:25.

abandon them in an hour of crisis. Joining me now are Radoslaw

:36:26.:36:29.

Sikorski, former Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs in Donald Tusk's

:36:30.:36:31.

cabinet, and before that, Major General Patrick Cordingley,

:36:32.:36:34.

commander of the Seventh Armoured Brigade of UK troops in the first

:36:35.:36:38.

Gulf War. And Professor Malcolm Chalmers,

:36:39.:36:40.

Deputy Director-General of the Royal United Services

:36:41.:36:43.

Institute. And down the line from Florida

:36:44.:36:48.

is Nancy Soderberg, former US Ambassador to the United Nations

:36:49.:36:51.

and foreign policy advisor Good evening to you all. It is a

:36:52.:37:02.

Cold War weapon for a Cold War that does not exist any more. Well, I am

:37:03.:37:08.

glad you mentioned that because when I was the defence minister, I

:37:09.:37:11.

declassified some of our Polish Warsaw Pact era exercise maps. And

:37:12.:37:20.

they envisaged a Warsaw Pact invasion of Western Europe, and

:37:21.:37:25.

Soviet nuclear strikes on Germany, Denmark, Holland. But significantly,

:37:26.:37:32.

not on France and not on the UK. Why do you think that was? So they would

:37:33.:37:36.

not think that actually we would come to their aid? I think the

:37:37.:37:44.

Soviets made a calculation which I think is confirmed by what has

:37:45.:37:49.

happened ever since. Countries have given up nuclear weapons. South

:37:50.:37:54.

Africa was mentioned, and also, most significantly, Ukraine. Ukraine gave

:37:55.:37:57.

up the third largest nuclear stockpile in the world in exchange

:37:58.:38:01.

for guarantees of its territorial integrity and we know what happened.

:38:02.:38:06.

But you talk about the classifying documents from the Warsaw Pact era.

:38:07.:38:11.

What do you think now, do you think Vladimir Putin, who we know is

:38:12.:38:15.

beefing up his nuclear arsenal, is he a threat to the West? Russia has

:38:16.:38:20.

a doctrine of the first use of nuclear weapons from a time when

:38:21.:38:23.

they felt conventionally weaker. And the exercise using battlefield

:38:24.:38:28.

weapons in a confrontation with Nato. In 2009, there was an exercise

:38:29.:38:35.

and in 2013. Vladimir Putin talks about using nuclear weapons. If he

:38:36.:38:39.

talks about it, it means he thinks about it. Nancy Soderberg, do you

:38:40.:38:45.

agree with that chilling statement, that Vladimir Putin is thinking

:38:46.:38:48.

about nuclear weapons and using them, and that he will more likely

:38:49.:38:52.

use them against us if we do not have our own Trident missiles? First

:38:53.:38:57.

of all, I think you have to recognise that we all have plans to

:38:58.:39:02.

use nuclear weapons. I can conceive of no conceivable realistic

:39:03.:39:07.

situation in which they would use them. Our intelligence says that the

:39:08.:39:13.

threat from a nuclear weapon would be a terrorist getting components.

:39:14.:39:17.

That argument is that there is less nuclear material out there, that

:39:18.:39:20.

that is better. In the US, we have been trying to reduce our numbers

:39:21.:39:23.

and the debate in Britain about the Trident submarine is not likely to

:39:24.:39:28.

change the politics. The politics are not there for it yet, but in

:39:29.:39:33.

terms of the longer term, the US has a vibrant nuclear umbrella over

:39:34.:39:38.

Europe and the Trident missile serves as a symbolic but not

:39:39.:39:41.

militarily significant addition to that. It is interesting that it is

:39:42.:39:48.

symbolic. Could we rely on the US to the same extent that we do now if we

:39:49.:39:53.

did not have Trident? Absolutely. Britain is not going to get rid of

:39:54.:39:56.

its Trident submarines any time soon. They will be upgraded but you

:39:57.:40:01.

have to recognise that only one of them is circulating at any time and

:40:02.:40:04.

I think there is a total of 16 weapons on there. It is not a

:40:05.:40:09.

massive retaliatory force. The larger picture here is that the

:40:10.:40:15.

world is moving towards reducing its nuclear weapons. The more countries

:40:16.:40:19.

that have nuclear weapons, the harder it is to convince Iran that

:40:20.:40:23.

it does not need one. Right now, there are nine and Iran might be the

:40:24.:40:26.

10th if the nuclear deal falls apart. Over time, Britain, maybe not

:40:27.:40:32.

in this cycle but maybe the next ten or 20 years, I think these weapons

:40:33.:40:39.

will be phased out. The is a lively debate about tactical nuclear

:40:40.:40:41.

weapons in the United States as well. Nancy Soderberg's view is that

:40:42.:40:47.

our contribution to the arsenal is symbolic rather than anything else

:40:48.:40:51.

and it will be phased out and actually America would still come to

:40:52.:40:54.

our aid if we did not have weapons of mass destruction. I think it is

:40:55.:40:57.

most unlikely that the UK arsenal would be phased out except in the

:40:58.:41:02.

context of multilateral disarmament. The idea we would have done that

:41:03.:41:05.

unilaterally, it would be a radical step. I would agree. No one is

:41:06.:41:11.

talking about doing it unilaterally. It would have to be negotiated over

:41:12.:41:15.

time. If we were to give up our weapons, we would be the first

:41:16.:41:19.

country in the world to give up our weapons. We know about Brazil and

:41:20.:41:25.

South Africa and Ukraine. What impact would that have on our

:41:26.:41:29.

standing in the world? Could come back to whether is symbolic? Lets a

:41:30.:41:34.

that deterrent works. I would not necessarily agree but let's assure

:41:35.:41:35.

them that it has. Why? necessarily agree but let's assure

:41:36.:41:42.

1500 ready nuclear warheads. necessarily agree but let's assure

:41:43.:41:52.

those, it would have no effect on the deterrent against Russia. Russia

:41:53.:41:56.

would still be deterred. I believe in Nato, and I think we are

:41:57.:41:58.

perfectly safe under the American umbrella. That is the standpoint I

:41:59.:42:04.

come from. And on that basis, you think we should scrap it?

:42:05.:42:09.

come from. And on that basis, you America wants us to do, it once

:42:10.:42:10.

asked to up our America wants us to do, it once

:42:11.:42:14.

weapons. At the moment, we are really going very close to actually

:42:15.:42:28.

weapons. At the moment, we are this weapon? The more important

:42:29.:42:31.

question to ask is if the UK, having been involved in this business for

:42:32.:42:35.

more than 60 years, since the Manhattan Project in the 40s, was to

:42:36.:42:39.

know decides to get rid of the system, firstly people would ask, in

:42:40.:42:44.

Russia and America or wherever, why have we made such a radical change

:42:45.:42:50.

in our policy? And those in this country most opposed to nuclear

:42:51.:42:56.

weapons are not doing it because they are particularly trusting of

:42:57.:43:00.

the Americans or because they want to up our

:43:01.:43:00.

the Americans or because they want they are doing it primarily

:43:01.:43:06.

the Americans or because they want these weapons are morally repugnant.

:43:07.:43:09.

But I wonder why we would still have, or if we would indeed have a

:43:10.:43:11.

permanent seat at have, or if we would indeed have a

:43:12.:43:15.

Council if we give up our nuclear weapons? Our power in the world

:43:16.:43:18.

would be diminished, our standing would be diminished. Why should we

:43:19.:43:23.

have a permanent seat? If the United Nations and the Security Council

:43:24.:43:26.

were designed today, the membership would be different. The European

:43:27.:43:31.

Union would perhaps be entitled to a seat. But not its member states. It

:43:32.:43:36.

would certainly have some other big countries like India and others.

:43:37.:43:42.

Yes, but that is history. What do you make of this idea that what the

:43:43.:43:47.

Americans want us to do is up our conventional warfare? That they will

:43:48.:43:50.

take care of the nuclear, but they want Britain to fight a more

:43:51.:43:53.

conventional war? That is like asking yourself whether you need a

:43:54.:43:58.

tank or a plane. You need both. We need to deter potential enemies at

:43:59.:44:01.

all stages and all levels. Can I come in on the UN Security Council?

:44:02.:44:07.

We became a founder member before we had nuclear weapons and there are

:44:08.:44:11.

multiple reasons why we can justify having a seat. We have the second

:44:12.:44:16.

largest aid budget in the world, the fourth-largest defence budget, maybe

:44:17.:44:19.

the sixth or seventh largest economy and one of two nuclear members.

:44:20.:44:24.

If somebody does give up nuclear weapons, it sends an enormous

:44:25.:44:33.

message to everybody that we are serious about the nonproliferation

:44:34.:44:37.

Treaty and why not make an example? To the world? What do you think that

:44:38.:44:43.

the response from Vladimir Putin would be if Britain gave up nuclear

:44:44.:44:49.

weapons? Would he be emboldened? That we would be more vulnerable? I

:44:50.:44:54.

do not think there is any chance that even if he keeps his tyrannical

:44:55.:45:01.

slide, he will seriously contemplate using nuclear weapons in Europe,

:45:02.:45:07.

there is no reason, no threat, and I go back to the earlier point on the

:45:08.:45:13.

conventional side, it is not like having one weapon or another, we

:45:14.:45:21.

need help with writing Isis and we need more British, our best partners

:45:22.:45:25.

in the battlefield, we need more help on the current fight with Isis,

:45:26.:45:31.

the Air Force, the intelligence and the drones, fighting the threat of

:45:32.:45:36.

terrorism and so I think the debate about whether to get rid of

:45:37.:45:40.

Britain's nuclear weapons will not be a huge shock outside of Britain,

:45:41.:45:46.

to be quite honest. Nobody is saying anybody will do any of this

:45:47.:45:53.

unilaterally, least of all the French, but increasingly the threat

:45:54.:45:58.

is, the terrorists get a hold of the Lewis betrayals and the answer is,

:45:59.:46:02.

yes. The less nuclear material that is out there, that would be a very

:46:03.:46:08.

powerful signal to move forward. Britain is not there right now, it

:46:09.:46:10.

is debating it. James O'Brien will be

:46:11.:46:11.

here tomorrow night.

:46:12.:46:15.

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