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article imageUK Lib Dems want to ‘step down the nuclear ladder’ over Trident

By Andrew John     Sep 17, 2013 in Politics
Liberal Democrat members at their conference in the UK are calling for what they term a “step down the nuclear ladder” with a reduction in the number of Trident submarines.
However, the party says it still wants to maintain a UK nuclear capability.
If the party got its way, the “60-year-old policy of continuous at-sea patrols would end with submarine numbers cut from four to at most three”, according to the BBC.
“The Lib Dems say it represents a ‘step down the nuclear ladder’ but the Tories [the Lib Dems’ partners in Britain’s coalition government] say a ‘part-time deterrent’ is wrong.”
The party’s policy document, approved at the conference in Glasgow, says reducing the number of submarines would be the “greatest single act of de-escalation ever undertaken by one of the established nuclear powers”.
According to the Brookings Institution – a not-for-profit research organisation – the British nuclear deterrent has for 20 years “rested on Trident nuclear-armed missiles carried by four Royal Navy Vanguard-class ballistic missile submarines, at least one of which is continuously at sea.
“The British government is now considering how to maintain a nuclear deterrent after the Vanguard submarines are retired. This summer, the UK concluded a study looking at a range of alternatives, including options other than Trident missiles and options that would no longer maintain a continuous at-sea deterrent presence.”
Meanwhile, British anti-nuclear campaigners staged a protest outside the conference venue last Saturday, calling on the party to call on the UK government to scrap the Trident nuclear weapons system and stop plans to replace it.
The demo was organised by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and Scottish CND.
Campaigners demanded that Lib Dem delegates support the anti-Trident amendment to the Defence Policy Paper.
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