Independent – 2 November 2005
According to Dan Plesch (article, 31 October) the "myth of the independent nuclear force is the last taboo of British politics", as it could not be used – even in retaliation to an attack on the United Kingdom – without the permission of the United States.
Anticipating this argument, I tabled a written question to Defence Secretary John Reid asking "whether the British strategic nuclear deterrent could be (a) targeted and (b) used without United States approval (i) at present and (ii) under plans for a successor system". His answer was published on the same day as Dan's article: "The United Kingdom's independent nuclear deterrent can be targeted and used without the approval of any other country."
Either the Secretary of State is lying or Dan Plesch has got his facts wrong.
Dr JULIAN LEWIS MP
Shadow Defence Minister
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA