Trident delay rumours lead to contrasting reactions on all sides

The Coalition’s rumoured delay on Trident renewal has sparked contrasting reactions on all sides of the political spectrum.

The Coalition’s rumoured delay on Trident renewal has sparked contrasting reactions on all sides of the political spectrum. Conservative backbencher Bernard Jenkin has described the decision if affected as “the maddest decision of them all” whilst shadow defence secretary Bob Ainsworth tweeted:

“Trident delay. Unsafe, risks Continuous At Sea Deterrent. Huge industrial costs.”

Labour leadership candidate Ed Miliband, however, again called for Trident to be included in the Strategic Defence & Security Review (SDSR) and urged the government to consider how best to maintain “the minimum deterrent that Britian requires”. Mr Miliband further criticised the Coalition’s weak decision-making on the matter, saying:

This decision by the coalition looks worryingly like a government putting off the difficult political choices because they are too weak and too divided to take them, rather that showing the leadership and strength to make tough choices in the long-term interests of our country.”

And from the Liberal Democrats, former leader Sir Menzies Campbell welcomed the prospect of a delay, saying it would provide an opportunity to look again at other weapons systems. He told the BBC:

“We are in the midst of a wholesale defence review. You simply cannot proceed upon assumptions that had their origin in the Cold War…

“It seems to me that it makes a great deal of sense to allow us a breathing space to consider whether a like-for-like replacement – four boats, 192 warheads – is what is necessary for Britain’s defence when we know there are other alternatives available.

With the Conservative chaired House of Commons defence select committee warning that the SDSR is being rushed at “startling speed”, in marked contrast to Labour’s 1998 review which took nearly a year to complete, pressure on defence secretary Liam Fox to review Britain’s strategic defence and security options in a more measured and holistic fashion continues to grow.

Meanwhile, the Financial Times has also offered an analysis as instructive as it is amusing on the contradictions of a Coalition defence policy that cuts frontline troops whilst spending significant sums on long term defence procurement contracts.

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