Dr Julian Lewis: I realise that nothing would please my right hon. Friend more than to go into the next election fighting in defence of the rationale for the nuclear deterrent. Does he not recognise, however, that the appalling decision to postpone signing the main gate contracts leads us to a situation in which if – heaven forbid – there is another hung Parliament, the Liberal Democrats, who are really unilateralist, would be able to blackmail both parties to cancel the deterrent entirely?
[The Secretary of State for Defence (Dr Liam Fox): There are two things of which I am sure. The first is that my own belief in the need for an independent, minimal, credible nuclear deterrent for the United Kingdom is and will remain undimmed. The second is that I shall be fighting the general election to see a majority Conservative Government returned.]