US should pay attention to Trident debate

Speaking at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC today, Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, will make the case for the US to pay close attention to the debate on the UK’s nuclear deterrent.

In July, Danny Alexander announced the findings of the Coalition Government’s Trident Alternatives Review, which looked at alternatives to the like-for-like replacement of the Trident nuclear deterrent.

The review found that there are alternatives to the continuous at sea deterrent which would maintain UK security while moving towards nuclear disarmament. The Liberal Democrats will debate our policy on Trident at our upcoming conference in Glasgow.
  
In his speech, Danny Alexander will say:

Check against delivery

“I want to make the case for Britain taking this opportunity and for the United States to pay attention to our debate.

“Trident is the UK’s last, unreformed bastion of Cold War thinking.

“Britain in the 21st century, almost a quarter of a century after the fall of the Berlin Wall, needs to think about nuclear deterrence and disarmament in a fresh way.

“We have a big, final decision to make in 2016 about the future of our nuclear weapons system, and the Trident Alternatives Review shows that there are credible alternatives that don’t compromise UK security or our close cooperation with the US, but do allow us to move on from the Cold War. 

“We can adapt our nuclear deterrence to the threats in the 21st century by ending 24 hour patrols when we don’t need them, and buying fewer submarines. 

“That way we can take a big step down the ladder of nuclear disarmament while still keeping our country safe.

“There are some in the UK who argue that any change to our nuclear posture would cause serious disruption to our relationship, and not just as it relates to the Mutual Defence Agreement. 

“But I believe the special relationship runs deeper than that. The Trident Alternatives Review is not a threat to our relationship; it is an opportunity to work together.  

“All Nuclear Weapons States must think about how we take steps towards disarmament, but until a serious multilateral process is in place each Nuclear Weapons State will come down the ladder in its own way. The Trident Alternatives Review, I believe, sets out how the UK can do just that.”

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