DEFENCE – TRIDENT RENEWAL – 18 June 2012
Dr Julian Lewis: Given that as long ago as 9 February 2011 the Prime Minister told this House:
“The replacement of Trident is going ahead… I am in favour of a full replacement for Trident, a continuous at-sea deterrent… it will remain Conservative policy as long as I am the leader of this party” – [Official Report, 9 February 2011; Vol. 523, c. 296.],
is there any reason for surprise that this step should have been taken, and is there any reason for the undue delay in the study of alternatives, which can only come to the conclusion that replacing Trident is the only sensible option?
[The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Philip Hammond): Indeed. My hon. Friend is right. The written statement I made today was made in written form precisely because it does not convey any terribly new information. We have always made it clear that we would progress with the replacement for the Vanguard-class submarines, subject to the main gate decision in 2016. He speculates on the conclusion of the review currently being conducted under the leadership of the Minister for the Armed Forces, and he may choose to do so. I can tell him that it is expected that the review will be completed by the end of this year and then presented to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister.]