Hague announces size of UK nuclear arsenal


William Hague has announced to Parliament that the new coalition government intends to reveal the size of the UK's nuclear arsenal and that it will review policies on the use of nuclear weapons.

"For the first time, the government will make public the maximum number of nuclear warheads that the UK will hold in its stockpile. In the future our overall stockpile will not exceed 225 nuclear warheads," the Foreign Secretary told parliament during the debate on the Queen's speech.

The  previous Labour government had announced that no more than 160 warheads would be operationally deployed, but the new announcement shows that the UK's stockpile remains considerably larger than this. The government maintains that the extra warheads are to allow for "processing, maintenance and logistic management".

Mr Hague also told Parliament that the government will review policy on when it would consider using nuclear weapons as part of the defence and security review.

"We've decided that the time is right to look again at our policy as the U.S. has done in their recent Nuclear Posture Review to ensure that it is fully appropriate to the political and security context in 2010 and beyond," he said.

However, it remains unclear as to whether the costs, options, and need for replacing Trident will be considered in the defence review.

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