I do not support the existing motion. Judith Jolly has submitted a very sensible amendment which asks for the motion to be referred back to the Federal policy Committee. I want to see a full and open consultation on this issue so that we can consider the threats we face and be completely clear on the options, implications and costs of any decisions. We need a party working group to look at the questions of how best to allocate scare resources, guarantee security, and fulfil our international obligations while facing up to the type of threats and challenges Britain will face in the 21st Century. And we need Lib Dem answers.
That’s why I’m going to vote for that amendment, and I would like those of you who have a vote at conference to consider doing so as well…
We should say loud and clear that Lib Dems don’t support like-for-like replacement of Trident and I will happily lead the charge.
But the question then is what next, and I’m not sure that the motion tabled at conference really gives us any answers. In our current uncertain international climate, looking in particular to the unpredictability of Putin, I think as a party we need to be absolutely clear about the implications of disarmament. We need to be absolutely sure that neither our security nor that of our neighbours is compromised by this decision. We also need to consider the implications for our foreign relations and our standing in the world. These are not simple issues.
The current motion doesn’t answer those questions, and we also risk dismissing other credible policy positions which could potentially start us on the path to nuclear disarmament more quickly and be more likely to bring other nuclear states along with us.