Dannatt off message on Tory Trident plans

Former defence chief General Dannatt, who advises David Cameron and the Conservative front bench, has signalled his opposition to the renewal of Trident.

General Dannatt, the former chief of defence staff who controversially accepted a Cameron invitation to advise the Conservative front bench, has signalled his opposition to the renewal of Trident.

General Dannatt said that the lifetime of the current Trident-bearing Vanguard class submarines should be maintained for a period of a further 15 years but not necessarily beyond that. Dannatt said that the UK should keep Trident:

“At present we should keep it but not forever.”

Conservative Shadow Defence Secretary Liam Fox responded:

“Our position, as stated by David Cameron, is we intend to maintain a minimum credible submarine based nuclear deterrent for the United Kingdom. Let me reassure the people of Barrow, there is no question of changing this policy.”

The debate among Tory defence advisers on the future of Trident comes in the wake of the influential Chalmers Report on the costs and consequences of Minsitry of Defence budget cuts and a public disagreement between the current Chief of the Defence Staff General Richards and the First Sea Lord Admiral Stanhope on the long term need for Britain to possess full spectrum warfare capabilities as epitomised by massive procurement projects like Trident’s successor, the Joint Strike Fighter and the planned new aircraft carriers.

This blog has previously detailed how scrapping Trident could free up some 45bn GBP in the long term defence budget.

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