DEFENCE – NUCLEAR WEAPONS – 8 April 1998

Dr Julian Lewis: If he will make a statement on the Government's policy towards nuclear deterrence?

[SUPPLEMENTARY:] I realise that, in view of his own deplorable past support for the campaign for unilateral nuclear disarmament, the Deputy Prime Minister finds it difficult to say that he approves of nuclear deterrence. I have no doubt that he will follow the precedent set by his answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Buckingham (Mr Bercow) by emulating the evasive and slippery techniques of his right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, and referring to my political activities in the Labour party in the 1970s.

Will the Deputy Prime Minister simply answer one question? If, now that the danger of Russian nuclear aggression has receded, the Government appreciate nuclear deterrence, do they admit that they were wrong to call for unilateral nuclear disarmament at the height of the threat from the Soviet Union at the time of the cold war, when the Deputy Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister all supported the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament?