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Defence Defence

Retain the Trident continuous-at-sea nuclear deterrent

Last updated: 01:48pm 31 December 2018

We will retain the Trident continuous-at-sea nuclear deterrent to provide the ultimate guarantee of our security.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.41

Our verdict

The UK is one of nine countries with nuclear weapons capabilities based on its fleet of submarines carrying the ballistic missile system Trident II D5. The country currently has four such submarines, at least one of which is always on patrol.

There is a long history in Britain of opposition to nuclear arms, and the current leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, has long been an advocate of disarmament. Debate around whether to maintain the country’s nuclear capability is rarely far from the political agenda.

This policy is a promise to retain the Trident programme and the continuous-at-sea deterrent.

In October 2016, the previous government announced that building would begin on new nuclear submarines, called Dreadnoughts, with £1.3 billion of investment over 10 years.

In December 2018, the government reported on the progress of the Dreadnought Programme:

“The programme remains within budget and on track for the First of Class, HMS Dreadnought, to enter service in the early 2030s.”

The commitment to retaining Trident has been maintained under this government and funding continues to be provided for building the new fleet of ballistic submarines. Our verdict is that this is ‘done’. We’ll keep monitoring the progress of the Dreadnought Programme, so follow this policy to stay up to date.

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