HC Deb 26 January 1988 vol 126 c165
14. Mr. Flannery

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's latest plans to modernise their nuclear weaponry.

Mr. Younger

We are proceeding on schedule with the modernisation of Britain's strategic nuclear deterrent through Trident. In addition, some technical studies are taking place with a view to identifying a possible successor to the United Kingdom's current sub-strategic weapon, the free-fall bomb; however, no decisions on a replacement for this have yet been taken.

Mr. Flannery

Is it true that in the next few years NATO is to introduce thousands of much more powerful nuclear weapons? I ask that question since the Government, and the Prime Minister in particular, do not seem to show the same enthusiasm for the INF treaty as the United States and the other countries in Europe. After Montebello, are more powerful weapons coming in?

Mr. Younger

The hon. Gentleman has asked me a question, and I must, in the kindest possible way, say quite simply that he is wrong. Not only has Britain shown a strong enthusiasm for the reduction of nuclear weapons, but we are the first Government in Britain to have supported a move, which has been successful, to remove a whole range of nuclear weapons and to reduce the total number available to East and West. I should have thought that that was a great success.