SIR,You report Defence secretary Michael Fallon as criticising the Scottish Labour Party decision to oppose the renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system saying:
“This underlines the danger that the Labour leadership poses to our national security. ..Renewing the nuclear deterrent is crucial ” (“Victory for Corbyn as Scottish Labour opposes Trident,” 2 November)
Yet Mr Fallon told Parliament on Trident renewal in January this year “we also share the vision of a world that is without nuclear weapons, achieved through multilateral disarmament.” (Hansard, 20 January, column 105, www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm150120/debtext/150120-0002.htm)
Moreover, a few weeks after he confirmed this policy position to MPs, the Foreign Office hosted a two day high-level meeting in London of senior diplomatic representatives of the other four members of the self-appointed nuclear weapons club on the United Nations Security Council, the so-called Permanent Five (P5).
This brought to London Wang Qun, Director General, Department of Arms Control and Disarmament for China; Hélène Duchêne, Director for Strategic Affairs for France; Rose Gottemoeller, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security for the United States; and Grigory Berdennikov, Ambassador-at-Large for Russia, to meet with the FCO’s top disarmament diplomats.
After their meeting on 6 February the P5 diplomats issued a joint statement through the Foreign Office, which included the following very interesting agreement:
The P5 reaffirmed that a step-by-step approach to nuclear disarmament that promotes international stability, peace and undiminished and increased security for all remains the only realistic and practical route to achieving a world without nuclear weapons..”
In his commentary on the Scottish Labour decision, James Kirkup argues:” Labour needs a single position on nuclear weapons, soon. Otherwise, it's dead,” Scottish Labour's Trident vote does the impossible and makes Jeremy Corbyn's nuclear policy even more absurd,” November 2). But Mr Fallon simultaneously advocates both replacing Trident, and getting rid of it
Mr Fallon must recognize spending up to £167 billion on replacing Trident, which you are simultaneously negotiating away, is an odd way to prioritise expenditure of taxpayers’ money at a time of austerity.