UK nuclear arsenal of 225 warheads revealed for first time
Coalition government reveals exact extent of Britain's nuclear stockpile as 225 warheads in surprise move
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By Lewis Bazley.
Wednesday, 26, May 2010 06:50
By Matthew Champion.
The coalition government has revealed the exact extent of Britain's nuclear stockpile as 225 warheads in a surprise move.
Foreign secretary William Hague disclosed the information in the Commons this afternoon, marking a distinct break from the previous policy of ambiguity, with only the number of operational missiles typically being revealed.
"We judge this will further assist in nurturing the climate of trust between nuclear and non-nuclear states," Mr Hague said during a Queen's Speech debate.
"This disclosure poses no threat to the security of the UK. It helps set standards of transparency which all states should follow."
The announcement came as part of Mr Hague's call for a "distinctive British foreign policy", one which he said would not allow the UK's role on the world stage to "wither and shrivel away".
The foreign secretary also pledged to re-examine the conditions under which Britain would be prepared to launch a nuclear strike.
"These concrete actions show how seriously we take our obligations to strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation treaty while maintaining our deterrent," Mr Hague said.
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament welcomed the announcement in terms of transparency but chair Kate Hudson warned: "The figures reveal that Britain has almost half as many warheads again as the previously published number of 'operationally available' - higher than many had estimated. This very large number of 'spares' kept by Britain is similar to the supposed size of the entire nuclear arsenals of India or Pakistan."
CND also condemned as "deplorable" the decision not to include the Trident missile system in the strategic security and defence review.
In last week's programme for government the coalition committed itself to both renewing and reviewing Trident.