Prime Minister Theresa May would be prepared to launch a preemptive nuclear strike against any enemies, even if Britain was not under attack, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has claimed.
“In the most extreme circumstances we have made it very clear that you can’t rule out the use of nuclear weapons as a first strike,” Fallon told the BBC’s Today program.
When asked in what circumstances, he replied: “They are better not specified or described, which would only give comfort to our enemies and make the deterrent less credible.
“The whole point about the deterrent is that you have got to leave uncertainty in the mind of anyone who might be thinking of using weapons against this country.”
The prime minister’s official spokesperson later added there was “no reason to disagree with what the defense secretary said.”
Trident’s four submarines operate a continuous at-sea nuclear deterrent. Last year, a vote in the House of Commons saw MPs vote for Trident’s renewal, which is expected to cost up to £225 billion (about US$285 billion) over its service lifetime.
Fallon’s comments come as the Tories continued to exploit Labour divisions on the retention of the Trident deterrent, to warn of the “very dangerous chaos” if Jeremy Corbyn becomes prime minister.