I believe it is absolutely vital that we maintain a continuous independent nuclear deterrent as the ultimate guarantee of our national security. The Government has consistently set out the case for maintaining our nuclear deterrent: although no state currently has both the intent and the capability to threaten the independence and integrity of the UK, we cannot know how the international environment will change in the future. I believe firmly that we cannot dismiss the possibility that a major direct nuclear threat to the UK might re-emerge.

Despite successes over recent decades in limiting the number of states with nuclear capabilities, we cannot rule out a major shift in the international security situation which would put us under grave threat. That is why I do not believe it would be right to give up this capability unilaterally.

The Government’s policy is to retain the Trident continuous at sea nuclear deterrent to provide the ultimate guarantee of our safety and build the new fleet of four Successor Ballistic Missile Submarines – securing thousands of highly-skilled engineering jobs in the UK.

I welcome the commitment to support the renewal of Trident with a fleet of four submarines. It would be wrong to leave Britain open to nuclear blackmail. The nuclear deterrent protects all of Britain, and scrapping it would dangerously weaken our collective defence. I fully support this position, because this is the only sensible policy for ensuring our country has future of security.

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