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Policy consultation on Nuclear Weapons

September 9, 2016 5:42 PM

Autumn Conference 2016 - Nuclear Weapons policy consultation paper

One of the main features of Liberal Democrat conferences is the debate and discussion of party policy. Before a policy paper is presented for debate to be voted on by members, there is a long consultative process. And one of the topics to be discussed in this process at next week's Autumn Conference is nuclear weapons.

The policy consultation paper includes notes prepared by a working group, covering points of information on the UK's nuclear capability, posture, firing chain, legal responsibilities and other international commitments, as well as on the international security context. The paper also presents five possible scenarios for future options, covering the entire gamut from keeping the current arrangements in place, through to unilateral nuclear disarmament by the UK.

The idea is that the paper is a springboard for discussion within the party, so that an informed debate can be held at a later date to determine the agreed party policy. To that end, key questions are put forward. These are wide-ranging and challenging to answer, as the following examples demonstrate:

  • "Does the government's decision to renew Trident on a like-for-like basis detract from the UK's efforts to use international processes for global nuclear disarmament? If so, what domestic action can be taken to achieve a positive impact on the processes and enhance the UK's credibility?"
  • "The world scene has changed immensely over the last 25 years. How should the UK's nuclear capability and posture now change to reflect specific changes? To what extent should capability and posture take into account threats acting directly or indirectly from proliferation, for example from India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea?"
  • "Is a continuous-at-sea-nuclear deterrence policy still an appropriate response to the changing international security environment?"
  • "Does the UK's vote in favour of leaving the European Union have any bearing on the UK's nuclear posture?"
  • "How should the UK use its role on the UN Security Council to promote nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation?"

The working group invites feedback on the policy consultation paper to be submitted by Friday 28th October 2016.



Nuclear Weapons, Policy Consultation Paper 127, Liberal Democrats