Surprise move sees Britain come clean about its nukes

By Ian Dunt

William Hague has surprised the House of Commons by revealing how many nuclear warheads the government owns.

Britain had previously maintained an ambiguous position, revealing only how many operationally available nuclear warheads were present.

But new foreign secretary William Hague decided to reveal how many warheads Britain has during the debate on the Queen’s Speech.

The number was 225.

“We judge this will further assist in nurturing the climate of trust between nuclear and non-nuclear states,” Mr Hague said.

“This disclosure poses no threat to the security of the UK. It helps set standards of transparency which all states should follow.”

Mr Hague also announced that the UK’s declaration policy, which maps out the condition in which it would be willing to launch a nuclear strike, was being re-examined.

The policy currently states that the purpose of the UK’s nuclear capacity is to deter attack and would only be used in extreme circumstances to defend Britain or its allies.

“We’ve decided the time is right to look again at our policy, as the US has done, to ensure it is fully appropriate for the context of 2010 and beyond,” Mr Hague said.

“These concrete actions show how seriously we take our obligations to strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation treaty while maintaining our deterrent.”