House of Lords

Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference – Wednesday 4 November 2009

Lord Judd, Labour – To ask Her Majesty’s Government what further confidence-building measures they will consider in preparation for the forthcoming non-proliferation treaty review conference; and whether a reduction to fewer than 100 warheads or to two “weapon-loads” will be included in such consideration. [HL5852]

Lord Brett, Government Whip (technically a Lord in Waiting, HM Household), Labour – The UK is working with the nuclear and non-nuclear weapons states alike to build confidence and consensus in the run up to the non-proliferation treaty review conference. The review conference is a key opportunity to reinvigorate the non-proliferation treaty across its three pillars: by strengthening the non-proliferation regime, reinforcing progress on nuclear disarmament, and promoting the safe and peaceful use of nuclear energy.

The UK has taken a number of significant steps on disarmament in recent years and is committed to retaining only the absolute minimum credible nuclear deterrent capability; we regularly review the number of warheads in the UK stockpile in that light. My right honourable friend the Prime Minister announced on 24 September 2009 at the UN Security Council summit that the UK would review whether we could meet our minimum deterrent requirements with three next-generation nuclear armed submarines, rather than the existing four, provided this is consistent with credible and continuous deterrence.