UK to boost nuclear stockpile in bid to ensure post-Brexit stature
United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson is trying to reassert his country’s influence after its “Brexit” from the EU by building up the country’s nuclear arsenal.
The overall cap on the number of nuclear warheads held and deployed on submarines by the UK will now increase by 40% to 260, having been due to drop to 180 under previous plans from 2010.
Johnson argued this month that the weapons provide a supreme guarantee of the UK’s security. But others observe that the UK is so concerned that its global position is diminishing, that it needs to flex its nuclear muscles to justify its permanent seat at the world’s most exclusive table: the United Nations Security Council.
Canadian nuclear expert Erika Simpson, writing with Bill Kidd of the Scottish Parliament in the Ottawa-based Hill Times newspaper, said that “The Westminster government is defying international law— and its own public’s on-record majority opinion against nuclear weapons—as well as provoking the Scottish people, all of which it will regret. The likely outcome will be a bifurcated British Isles with Scotland, Ireland, and perhaps Wales going their own separate ways. Scotland has promised not to join a nuclear-NATO, leading to a decrease in the nuclear alliance’s number and credibility.”
Other Canadian disarmament advocatess have issued an open letter to UK Prime Minister Johnson. “We urge the government of British Prime Minister Johnson to reverse these regressive and provocative steps as they are in violation of treaty obligations. They carry the inherent risk of re-fueling both a nuclear and conventional arms race,” said the letter from the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (CNANW).
The world renown UK peace group (and founder of the iconic peace symbol), the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, issued a statement saying that Johnson’s decision to increase Britain’s nuclear arsenal is a serious problem.
“It’s not just that we would rather the money was spent on something more useful; or that this flagrant breach of the NPT may encourage others to pursue nuclear weapons; it’s a question of what kind of world we want to see, what role we want Britain to play and what it actually stands for. Rearming with weapons of mass destruction is not something that we can accept.”