FoxQuote Speaking on BBC1's Politics Show the Shadow Defence Secretary appeared to put an end to speculation that replacement of Britain's independent nuclear deterrent could be scrapped under an incoming Conservative government:

"There'll be a replacement for our Trident system under the Conservatives… The country requires it for its defence."

Dr Liam Fox would not set out the exact nature of the deterrent, however, avoiding direct questioning on the number of submarines that would be associated with the deterrent.  He repeated however that a nuclear deterrent would be necessary to defend Britain from "nuclear blackmail" by states such as North Korea and Iran.

Dr Fox also refused to be drawn on other defence commitments.  He said that an incoming Conservative government would have to take account of the "train wrecked" public finances.  The Conservatives would, he said, conduct a strategic defence review, define Britain's national interest, the threats we'll face, and then set out the equipment and alliances necessary to meet those threats.

A clash with Britain's defence industry seems highly likely, however.  Dr Fox is known to be sympathetic to the Canadian model where that country's armed forces are being renewed by purchasing cheaper, off-the-shelf defence equipment from overseas.

Tim Montgomerie