§ Lord Jenkins of Putney
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they would consider proposing talks between all nuclear weapon states to achieve and verify reductions in their nuclear arsenals comparable with the START reductions now being implemented by Russia and America, if they were assured that such a proposal would receive the support of the Opposition.
§ Baroness Chalker of Wallasey:
We have substantially reduced the size of our national nuclear deterrent in recent years. By 1998, it will consist of a single system, Trident, and will be 21 per cent. smaller in terms of warhead numbers and 59 per cent. smaller in terms of explosive power than in the mid-1970s.
We remain committed to maintaining a minimum deterrent consistent with our national security needs. The priority now must be the further reduction of the strategic arsenals of the two largest nuclear powers by the ratification and full implementation of START II. As my right honourable friend the Member for Witney, the then Foreign Secretary, made clear at the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review and Extension Conference in April this year, the United Kingdom would participate in multilateral talks on the global reduction of nuclear weapons in a world in which US and Russian nuclear forces could be counted in hundreds rather than in thousands.