Cost of Trident delay inevitable result of the compromise of coalition

Defence secretary Liam Fox’s admission that the Trident delay announced in last month’s Strategic Defence & Security Review (SDSR) will cost up to £1.4 billion attracted fresh criticism of the government’s handling of the issue. John Woodcock, the Labour MP for Barrow - where the submarines are built - claimed the coalition was “playing politics with Britain's national security” by delaying the decision on Trident renewal for five years so as to avoid a Liberal Democrat revolt on the issue.

Defence secretary Liam Fox’s admission that the Trident delay announced in last month’s Strategic Defence & Security Review (SDSR) will cost up to £1.4 billion attracted fresh criticism of the government’s handling of the issue. John Woodcock, the Labour MP for Barrow – where the submarines are built – claimed the coalition was “playing politics with Britain’s national security” by delaying the decision on Trident renewal for five years so as to avoid a Liberal Democrat revolt on the issue. 

Longtime Trident supporter, Conservative MP for New Forest East Julian Lewis, went further, claiming the prospect of a future hung parliament would allow the Liberal Democrats to “blackmail both parties to cancel the deterrent entirely”.

The additional cost caused by stretching the existing service lifetime of the Vanguard submarines from 2024 to 2028 is the inevitable consequence of the political compromise within the coalition to delay the ‘maingate’ decision on Trident renewal until after the next General Election.

The British-American Security & Intelligence Council has previously reported that parliamentary support for Trident renewal after the next election:

“… is likely to depend heavily upon the international environment, developments in the state of others’ nuclear programmes and the diplomatic non-proliferation and disarmament track, and the evolution of Britain’s role in the world over the next five years.”

Kate Hudson, general secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) sums up the case for delay arguing that:

“Pushing this decision back to after the next election will hopefully allow politicians to catch up with what the majority of the public and a growing number of military voices acknowledge – that nuclear weapons are a costly irrelevance to the threats Britain faces.

The delay’s cost and the resultant political questions for the coalition are two continuing consequences of the government’s decision to delay a decision rather then embracing either outright cancellation or a reduced cost alternative.

6 Responses to “Cost of Trident delay inevitable result of the compromise of coalition”

  1. John Woodcock

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cost of Trident delay inevitable result of the compromise of coalition: http://bit.ly/aH8CtX writes @MarcusARoberts

  2. Martin Johnston

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cost of Trident delay inevitable result of the compromise of coalition: http://bit.ly/aH8CtX writes @MarcusARoberts

  3. Frank Spring

    RT @marcusaroberts @leftfootfwd: Cost of Trident delay inevitable result of the compromise of coalition http://bit.ly/cQvw98

  4. Marcus A. Roberts

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cost of Trident delay inevitable result of the compromise of coalition: http://bit.ly/aH8CtX writes @MarcusARoberts

  5. Mr. Sensible

    We don’t really know what the government’s policy on this is; Cameron says that we are renewing Trident, but Lib Dems say no.

    All this is just politically motivated.

  6. We can still fight Trident: Here's how | Left Foot Forward

    […] Cost of Trident delay inevitable result of the compromise of coalition – Marcus Roberts, November 11th […]

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