§ Mr. Frank Cook
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what account is taken of the size of the United States and Soviet Union's arsenals in setting the size of the United Kingdom nuclear deterrent.
§ Mr. Archie Hamilton
The United Kingdom's nuclear deterrent is not based on any specific numerical correlation with the nuclear arsenals of others. Rather, it has long been United Kingdom policy to maintain only the minimum numbers of weapons necessary to deter aggression. In this respect the need to ensure that our nuclear deterrent remains effective against improving Soviet defences is of overriding importance when considering the size of our force.