Cripin Blunt, the Conservative chair of the Commons foreign affairs committee, spoke after Angus Robertson in the debate and he said he would not be voting for Trident renewal.
Earlier, in an intervention, he said that his current estimate was that Trident renewal would have a lifetime cost of £179bn.
- Blunt said Trident renewal would be “the most egregious act of self-harm to our conventional defence”.
The total cost of replacing the Trident nuclear missile system will come to at least £205bn, far more than previously estimated, according to figures drawn up by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).
It has calculated the total on the basis of official figures, answers to parliamentary questions and previous costs of items including nuclear warheads and decommissioning nuclear reactors. It says it has not taken into account that past Ministry of Defence projects have frequently gone well over budget. …
The most expensive item would be the cumulative running costs, estimated by the government to be about 6% of the total defence budget. Crispin Blunt, Tory chair of the Commons foreign affairs committee, has calculated, on the basis of parliamentary answers, that a new Trident system would cost £167bn over a 30-year lifespan.
Replacing Trident will cost at least £205bn, campaigners say
But the system, known as continuous-at-sea-deterrence or CASD, is essentially the same: four submarines work a rota which has one submarine on a three-month-long patrol, another undergoing refit or repair, a third on exercises, and a fourth preparing to relieve the first. The navy’s code name is Operation Relentless.
This is an epic vigil, born in the cold war and not abandoned by its passing, and the government intends that it continues into a third generation of ballistic missile submarines – the provisionally-named Successor class – that will work to the same pattern as the Vanguards and carry a new version of the Trident D5, now under development. In the end, a military strategy devised to deter attack by the Soviet Union will have outlived its original enemy by at least half a century.
The implications of these advances are far-reaching for all military powers, but none more so than the UK, which depends on the invisibility and stealth of submarines for its Trident nuclear missiles. The government is in the process of placing a £31bn gamble that its submarines will stay invisible for the foreseeable future – a bet that might be splitting the Labour party but is little debated outside it. Yet these developments could drastically change the debate: from whether an independent British nuclear deterrent is good, bad or necessary, to whether Trident would even function as a deterrent in the long term. Continue reading
In this web extra, Hans Blix, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) supports Corbyn’s call, saying Trident is “a tremendous cost and very little gain”.
The former IAEA chief also says he does not think it adds to British security. “I think it’s more a question of sentimental status seeking,” Blix says, “They will keep their seat in the Security Council even if they do not continue Trident.”