Royal Navy submarine HMS Victorious departs HMNB Clyde 050613 CREDIT Royal Navy .jpg
UK

Defence Select Committee Chair: 'I Need To Be Assured Our Independent Nuclear Deterrent Remains Exactly That'

The US government said the UK is working with them on a new warhead programme that could replace Trident.

Royal Navy submarine HMS Victorious departs HMNB Clyde 050613 CREDIT Royal Navy .jpg

Senior US officials appear to have accidentally leaked details of Britain’s plans to replace its nuclear warheads.

They have gone on record saying that the UK is working with the US on a new warhead programme.

However, the decision has not been announced by the British Government.

Speaking to Forces News, Tobias Ellwood MP, Chair of the Defence Select Committee, stressed that "it is a leak", meaning that "how much of it is actually accurate we don't know".

However, he said it does raise questions as to the UK's ability to have a "complete independent nuclear deterrent".

Mr Ellwood, who was formerly a defence minister, said he was not aware there were any agreements or pending agreements with regards to Trident.

"We have such an important security relationship with our closest allies, the United States, and there are capabilities - such as high-end capabilities in the nuclear deterrent - that we do share," he said.

"The important thing is that we are able to use that nuclear deterrent completely independently of any decision-making by the United States."

Asked if he believes this leak has been blown out of proportion, Mr Ellwood said he would like to allow that "to be placed in perspective."

He added he wishes to take this leak "one step at a time".

"I need to be assured that our independent nuclear deterrent remains exactly that, no matter how much reliant we are on the high-end capabilities that the United States provides," Mr Ellwood said.

The UK’s Trident nuclear deterrent has been in service for more than 25 years, but over the years there have been talks about replacing it.

The Ministry of Defence said the UK would continue to remain compatible with the US Trident missile and that an announcement about replacement warheads would be made in due course.

Cover image: Royal Navy submarine HMS Victorious (Picture: Royal Navy).