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Britain’s nuclear weapon plan makes little sense at home or abroad

Attacked by Russia and Iran, Boris Johnson’s plan to increase Britain’s nuclear weapons stockpile also has domestic critics, reports defence editor Kim Sengupta

Thursday 18 March 2021 14:55 GMT
A missile firing from HMS Vigilant
A missile firing from HMS Vigilant (PA)

Britain’s boosting of its nuclear arsenal, and the threat to use it in response to cyberattacks, has been seized on for criticism by adversaries abroad, and questioned by senior security figures at home. 

The Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy stated that the UK will raise its nuclear weapons stockpile by 40 per cent while being prepared to use Trident missiles against threats from “emerging technologies” or chemical and biological weapons. 

Russia and Iran, states which had both faced criticism on nuclear issues, accused the UK of hypocrisy and double standards, charging that its new nuclear stance dealt a serious blow to arms control, and gravely risked international security and stability. 

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