DEFENCE (FRONT BENCH) – NUCLEAR DETERRENT – 19 July 2004

Dr Julian Lewis: Does the Minister accept that the future of both Rosyth and Faslane is bound up with that of the strategic nuclear deterrent? While appreciating that specific systems will be decided on in the next Parliament rather than in this one, can he send a signal of encouragement to the communities in Rosyth and Faslane that the Government still accept in principle that Britain should continue to possess a strategic nuclear deterrent as long as other countries have nuclear weapons?

[Adam Ingram: I suggest that the hon. Gentleman reads the White Paper to get the answer to the latter part of his question. I am sure that he will understand that the life-cycles of the nuclear deterrent and the boats that carry it last for long years, so the future for many years ahead is assured for those who carry out the support work. I reflect that not so many months ago, I announced the retention of about 1,000 jobs – I think that that is the correct figure – at Faslane for 25 years. We hardly got any recognition in the Scottish press for that statement. I just hope that they report the good news for Rosyth.]