HL Deb 24 January 2000 vol 608 cc168-9WA
Lord Christopher

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What progress has been made in implementing the aspects of the Strategic Defence Review relating to the nuclear deterrent. [HL564]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

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 whilst 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.