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24 February 2007

Barrett signs up for ‘Bin the Bomb’

John Barrett, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West, will today speak out against Government plans to replace the UK’s nuclear deterrent during a ‘Bin the Bomb’ rally in Glasgow’s George Square.

The Liberal Democrat MP will call for a rethink of the Governments’ plans to replace the Trident system, arguing that the money should be spent elsewhere.

The cost of replacing the Trident nuclear missile system is likely to be as much as £76bn according to some estimates. Parliament is due to vote on the issue of Trident replacement later this year.

Speaking prior to the rally, John Barrett said:

“The Governments own advisers say that the key global threats we face come from terrorism on the one hand, and global warming on the other. Nuclear weapons are useless against both.

“We have all heard reports of poorly equipped British soldiers in Iraq. I would rather see the money spent on ensuring our conventional forces have the helicopters and body armour they need rather than extending the life of weapons of mass destruction.

“We have enough real problems to concentrate on without spending billion of pounds on a weapon that we simply do not need.”


Notes

• Mr Barrett will today be addressing a ‘Bin the Bomb’ rally in Glasgow’s George Square. The rally is due to start at 11.30.

• Trident was brought into service during the 1990s, and is expected to reach the end of its service life in the 2020s. A replacement for the system is likely to take around 14 years to develop.

• The figure of £76bn is based on calculations made by the Liberal Democrats from parliamentary answers and is backed up by independent Commons researchers.

Most estimates have put the cost of replacing Trident at between £15bn and £25bn, but these do not take into account the annual maintenance costs.

Des Browne, the defence secretary, told the Commons in July, shortly before the summer recess, that the annual expenditure for capital and running costs of Trident would amount to up to 5.5% of the defence budget in the current financial year. He was responding to a question from the Scottish National party MP Michael Weir, who asked what the "annual maintenance cost" of the existing Trident system was expected to be.

The £76bn figure is based on the value the government has put on the cost of the existing Trident system - £14.9bn - plus the percentage of the £30bn defence budget now devoted to Trident for 30 years.

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This website was established while I was a Member of Parliament. The site content is being kept online as a source of information, but all forms / email have been disabled.