Brown refuses to back Blair's nuclear programme

Click to follow
Indy Politics

Gordon Brown has refused to commit himself to supporting Tony Blair's plans to renew Britain's Trident nuclear weapons system.

Gordon Brown has refused to commit himself to supporting Tony Blair's plans to renew Britain's Trident nuclear weapons system.

Mr Brown appeared to duck the issue on Channel Four News when he was challenged about yesterday's report in The Independent that Mr Blair had agreed in principle to replace the Trident system.

The Prime Minister confirmed yesterday that he wants Britain to retain its independent nuclear deterrent when the Trident submarine fleet reaches the end of its natural life.

Asked whether it was right to replace it, Mr Brown said: "Well, as Tony Blair says a decision has not been made. We have to look at the facts and the figures first."

His reply will encourage some of his supporters, who want him to secure the leadership, but seriously question the need for a replacement for Trident.

Mr Brown added: "The issue in the world is not whether the existing powers cease to be nuclear - I don't think that is expected of us - I think the issue is whether we can prevent proliferation."

The Independent learned the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) would not challenge claims in a court case that Mr Blair's plans to replace Trident with a new nuclear deterrent would breach the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT).

In documents relating to the prosecution of five anti-nuclear protesters who broke into a defence establishment, the CPS also says it will not contest expert views that the extension for 10 years of the mutual co-operation deal between Britain and the US, known as the mutual defence agreement, would breach the NPT.

The legal papers make it clear that the Crown does not accept the claims are correct, but has agreed not to contest the fact that some experts hold these view.

The Crown's acceptance that there is expert opinion against the Government came in papers delivered to Joss Garman, 19, one of the five CND protesters who in April, last year, broke into Northwood, the Ministry of Defence headquarters in north-west London.

Comments