An Alliance candidate has said that the UK’s Trident nuclear missile system should not be replaced because it has “never been tested” so may not be “faulty”.
South Belfast candidate Paula Bradshaw made the comments at a hustings event organised by the Christian charities Evangelical Alliance and CARE in Windsor Baptist Church on Thursday night: “Just to be clear, the Alliance Party position is that we don’t think £100 billion should be spent replacing Trident, although we don’t think that we should unilaterally get rid of it because I think that obviously we’re part of this super powers network and I think that we would better be building peace and international relationships before we do that.”
She added that the UK should “keep the old one”.
But the DUP’s Jonathan Bell said “that option isn’t an option because Trident needs to be replaced”.
Mrs Bradshaw then said: “Trident is a deterrent. We’ve never actually tested it. So we don’t actually know whether it needs to be replaced or not. So it’s on that basis that we don’t feel that we should have to replace them — do we know whether it’s faulty don’t know it’s faulty
There was laughter in the room at that comment. Mr Bell replied that based on “nuclear physics”, Trident had to be replaced.
In 2010, Mrs Bradshaw stood as an Ulster Unionist on a joint manifesto with the Conservative Party which said: “We support the decision to renew Britain’s submarine-based nuclear deterrent, based on the Trident missile system.”