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General Guthrie says scale back Trident

ImageGeneral Lord Guthrie has said that the plans to replace Trident should be scaled back and the savings used to recruit more soldiers. Lord Guthrie was Chief of Defence Staff from 1997 to 2001 and is advising Conservative leader David Cameron on defence issues.

The Times reports that Lord Gurthrie has accused the Government of "penny pinching" over the war in Afghanistan. 

On Trident his views are reported as:

Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent should be scaled back and the money spent on recruiting up to 25,000 more soldiers.

... a fundamental rethink is needed of Britain’s defence capabilities in the light of the rise of Islamist terrorism and the end of the Cold War.

“Realistically what we are short of is people,” he says. “We need more soldiers - ideally about 25,000 more.”

The four Trident submarines, which are due to be replaced at a cost of £20 billion - should be phased out and replaced with “the cheapest possible nuclear deterent you could get away with,” he adds.

Land-based missiles would in his view be as effective as sea-based ones, which are expensive to maintain. “Ideally - but quite unrealistically - you would fire it off the back of a Land Rover ... There are different ways of delivering it. If you look at Pakistan they haven’t got boats at sea, they strap weapons on to aircraft. They don’t tie up as much of the defence budget as we do.”

Lord Guthrie, who was chief of the defence staff between 1997 and 2001, adds: “I’ve always felt the nuclear weapon is very much more political than military.”