Friday, September 17, 2010

Try, try, Trident again !

The Liberal Democrat Conference Committee has allowed very little time for emergency motions proposed by members. There are two slots, one of which they have given to a motion on floods in Pakistan which nobody will oppose and will not really require debate. Six perfectly good motions are left to compete for the remaining slot. The ballot between these motions is also so arranged to limit participation. Ballot forms will be handed out on Sunday morning to be returned by 1.00 pm on Sunday. Why such a short period when the chosen debate won't be until Wednesday morning ?

If you agree that now is the time to push on Trident, vote for this motion:

Emergency Motion No.6

Conference notes that:

In July the Chancellor announced that the Ministry of Defence will have to fund the £20-£30bn capital costs of a ‘like for like’ replacement for Trident. The Defence Secretary has warned that this means severe restrictions in the way Britain operates militarily, regiments could be axed or the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy amalgamated. The exclusion of Trident from the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) is now untenable. It should be included and receive the scrutiny which strategic, political and financial circumstances demand.

Conference calls on the Liberal Democrat ministers to:

Press for the extension of the SDSR to allow a full review of the alternatives to ‘like-for-like’ replacement of Trident;

Ensure the SDSR considers cost-saving options such as ending continuous at-sea patrols and extending the life of Vanguard submarines;

Ensure the SDSR makes explicit the opportunity cost of Trident replacement – in terms of cuts to troop numbers and equipment programmes.

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