Ainsworth condemns 'ridiculous' Lib Dem Trident policy

Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth today attacked as "ridiculous" the Liberal Democrats' position over Trident.



Mr Ainsworth claimed the party's policy of saying no to a like-for-like replacement of the nuclear missile system would leave Britain with a "cheap and ineffective" deterrent.



His comments came as the spotlight turned more sharply on Liberal Democrat policies following Nick Clegg's widely praised performance in the first party leaders' debate.



Today's YouGov daily survey for The Sun put the Lib Dems on 30 per cent to Labour's 28 per cent, with the Conservatives in the lead on 33 per cent.



The Tories have launched a sustained attack on the Liberal Democrats' "eccentric" policies in a bid to offset the impact of Mr Clegg's performance in the televised debate.



In an interview with the BBC, Lib Dem defence spokesman Nick Harvey said it was "absurd" to decide now that Britain was "absolutely determined" to be a nuclear power from 2030 - the time he said when the current Trident system will expire.



He hoped instead that "significant headway" could be made before that date on moves towards multilateral disarmament.



The party's policy on Trident rules out a replacement for the submarine-based weapons system, which the Lib Dems say will cost £100 billion. Both Labour and the Tories have pledged to replace it.



Mr Harvey told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The existing Trident is there, it is paid for, it is going to work for the next 20 years.



"What we are saying is that it is absurd to decide now that we are absolutely determined to be a nuclear power from 2030 through to 2060."



He added: "I would sincerely hope that in the 20 years between now and the point at which our existing deterrent expires, we would have made significant headway on the world stage with moves towards multilateral disarmament.



But Mr Ainsworth told Today: "You have to plan to replace it if you are going to be able to replace it after 20 years.



"Nick's position appears to be that he wants to have an independent nuclear deterrent but he wants a cheap one.



"A cheap one would be a vulnerable and ineffective one and that is the fact. It is a ridiculous policy."



He added: "Now that the Liberal Democrats are getting the kind of focus that they have, then we will be able to examine some of their policies, like for instance Trident.



"You cannot have an independent nuclear deterrent that is cheap and ineffective, and there are silly policies in other areas as well."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
British author Helen Macdonald, pictured with Costa book of the year, 'H is for Hawk'
booksPanel hail Helen Macdonald's 'brilliantly written, muscular prose' in memoir of a grief-stricken daughter who became obsessed with training a goshawk
Sport
footballLive blog: Follow the action from the Capital One Cup semi-final
Life and Style
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Manager - OTE £40,000

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This web-based lead generation ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Intervention Teacher Required To Start ASAP.

£125 - £150 per day + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: A 'wonderful primary ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Maths Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Our client is an 11-16 mixed commun...

Recruitment Genius: PHP / Drupal / SaaS Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly developing company in...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century