ICAN Scottish Partner

Donate to SCND

Amount to donate:
£  GBP  


Blair Refuses to Give Commitment on Trident Replacement Vote

House of Commons Liaison Committee 7th February Q275 Mr Arbuthnot: Prime Minister, you said that it was likely that decisions on the strategic nucl ear deterrent should be taken during the course of this Parliament. You have said that there needs to be a public debate about it. When do you intend to begin that debate? Mr Blair: Well, at the risk of giving a sort of non-answer by saying: \"When we are ready to do so\", I cannot give you a specific time, but I think we are beginning to get to the point, if you see what I mean. By the end of this year we should have a very clear idea of the timeline, I would say, for it. I know, incidentally, too, that the Defence Select Committee are very interested in this and we are looking at how we can make sure we assist them also in that deliberation. Q276 Mr Arbuthnot: Would you expect there to be a vote in Parliament about the nuclear deterrent? Mr Blair: I do not know. We have not committed ourselves on that yet but I always think that these issues - if people really desire to have a vote there is always a way found for them having one. I do not know that we need, specifically, to have a vote - I have not come to a view on that - but I am sure there will be the fullest possible Parliamentary debate and there will obviously be that. It is a huge decision for the country and it will probably be done in a far more open way than the decisions have been taken before. Q277 Mr Arbuthnot: You are not committing yourself to a vote in Parliament on this? Mr Blair: I am not committing myself to it but I am not ruling it out either. As I say, I think, in the end, these things have a way of -- that is why I think some of this stuff is somewhat overdone about Parliament not being consulted. The truth is that a decision like this, particularly taken in today\'s world, is not going to suddenly pop out one day.