New Forest East


Dr Julian Lewis: The Secretary of State's excellent decision to deploy an anti-air warfare Type 45 destroyer to the Falklands certainly ensures that the islands are protected against aerial attack. That still leaves the danger of surface attack. In the absence of aircraft carriers, can my right hon. Friend confirm that a nuclear-powered submarine is available to protect our warship and the sea lanes approaching the Falklands?

[The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Philip Hammond): First, I should make it clear that the deployment of HMS Dauntless to the south Atlantic is a routine deployment and she will rotate with other vessels of the fleet in due course. Secondly, as I suspect my hon. Friend knows, we never comment on the deployment of our submarines of any description. As he has raised the issue, I will take the opportunity to make one thing clear. There has been some speculation in the press and by Argentine Ministers about the deployment of nuclear weapons to the south Atlantic. The United Kingdom has a clear and publicly stated policy that we will neither use nor threaten to use our nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state that is a compliant member of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, so the Argentine republic need have nothing to fear on that count.]