Douglas Carswell

19 JUL 2016

Trident is about sovereignty

I campaigned for Britain to leave the European Union because I believe in British sovereignty. Last night, I voted to replace Trident for the same reason.

The rationale for our independent nuclear deterrent is the same now as it was sixty years ago. When hostile powers and rogue states have nuclear weapons, we need them too.

The arguments against replacing Trident don't stack up.

It's too expensive, some say, as if surrendering a key pillar of our national security would be an economy.

We can shelter under America's nuclear umbrella, argue others. But in recent years the US has retreated from its role as global policeman. We can't just take its protection for granted. Nor would it be right for us to expect American taxpayers to pay for our security.

Then there are the resurgent Labour unilateralists. Jeremy Corbyn says we have to abolish Trident to create a 'nuclear-free world.' Anyone would think Britain were the only nuclear power on the planet.

Unilateralists are always conspicuously unconcerned about the nuclear capabilities of non-Western states. Who seriously believes the world would be a safer place if Russia, China, and North Korea were the only countries with nuclear weapons?

Mutually assured destruction has actually been remarkably effective at preventing nuclear war. The fact that no nuclear weapon has been used in anger since World War II, in spite of the Cold War, must be testament to that.

But Trident is not just about security. It's about independence. We don't need it only to deter a nuclear strike. We need it to stop another nuclear power holding us to ransom.

Preserving sovereignty requires the capability to use hard power if necessary. If we want to be a self-governing country, we can't give our nuclear deterrent up.

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