HC Deb 18 January 2000 vol 342 cc396-7W
Ms Squire

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made in implementing the aspects of the Strategic Defence Review relating to the nuclear deterrent; and if he will make a statement. [105643]

Mr. Hoon

The SDR conducted a rigorous re-examination of our deterrence requirements. The Government have made it clear that we shall maintain the minimum credible nuclear deterrent while working towards the global elimination of nuclear weapons. The longer-term goals of arms control, non-proliferation and multilateral disarmament were advanced considerably by a range of SDR measures. In addition to announcing Trident as the UK's only nuclear weapon system, these included: a reduction in the number of warheads deployed in each submarine; a significant reduction in the size of the UK's total nuclear weapon stockpile; the de-targeting of Trident missiles; having only one submarine on deterrent patrol, and the placing of the submarine on deterrent patrol at several days' notice to fire. These measures have all been introduced.

Following a trial period of moving towards single crewing of SSBNs, we have however decided to retain double crews. This decision reflects our determination, as part of our policy for people, to minimise the pressure on our service personnel and give them greater stability and time with their families.