Ashdown seeks defence links LibDems tie UK to Europe: Lib Dems want integrated 'Eurocorps'
The explicit support for a full-blown common defence policy is part of the strategy, laid out by Paddy Ashdown at his party's seminar in Oxford last week, to give the Liberal Democrats a clear policy identity for the general election. It is unlikely to be matched by Labour under Tony Blair.
It will be welcomed by senior pro-European members of Mr Ashdown's parliamentary team, who criticised the party's European campaign for being too timid over the abandonment of Britain's veto. The paper makes it clear that Britain could withhold the use of its forces outside the Nato area.
The roles of the forces allocated to the former Soviet threat, including the RAF in Germany, the Eurofighter 2000, and the Royal Navy in the north Atlantic, need to be reassessed, the paper says. As long as the quality and technological edge of British troops can be maintained it may be possible to secure further reductions in forces for a collective defence role.
The document would harden the commitment to nuclear defence, replacing a commitment to maintain nuclear weapons 'for the time being' with a commitment to do so 'while other states possess nuclear weapons'.
The party would deploy the four Trident submarines, with a minimum number of nuclear warheads, no greater and possibly fewer, than deployed on Polaris. They call for tougher curbs on the use of nuclear weapons, like those for chemical and biological weapons, and for Britain to renounce the use of nuclear weapons except in response to a nuclear threat and only against military targets.
- 1 Isis 'jihadi bride' claims forced sex with Yazidi girls is never rape because Koran condones it
- 2 Art Garfunkel calls Paul Simon a 'monster' with a Napoleon complex
- 3 Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
- 4 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 5 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
Isis 'jihadi bride' claims forced sex with Yazidi girls is never rape because Koran condones it
Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...