London mayor Boris Johnson has warned that a Labour-SNP coalition which would scrap the Trident nuclear programme would put Britain at risk of “nuclear blackmail” and send out a signal of “a visible diminution of global authority” amid a rising threat from Russia.
In a statement issued on social media site Facebook, Johnson said Britain needs to stand firm on defence in support of the US amid global turmoil.
He said that unrest in Russia and the Ukraine under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin had alarmed international leaders.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon recently insisted that scrapping Trident would be a “fundamental” issue in considering a Westminster coalition with Labour following this year’s General Election.
Johnson said: “Under Labour and the SNP, Britain would be denuding itself of its most important weapon; at the very moment when Putin is increasing his defence spending by 35 per cent, and building huge new drones capable of long-range bombing. How are we supposed, in those circumstances, to help the Americans face him down?”
He added: “If a Labour-SNP coalition were to junk Trident, Britain would be vulnerable to nuclear blackmail; but it is worse than that. We would suffer a public and visible diminution of global authority; we would be sending a signal that we no longer wished to be taken seriously; that we were perfectly happy to abandon our seat on the UN Security Council to some suit from Brussels; that we were becoming a kind of military capon.”
He added that on a recent trip to the US, authorities there told him they hoped [Britain] “won’t go soft on us”.
He said: “They look at Vladimir Putin, and they are alarmed. They see him carving up Ukraine; they know that he is causing increasing anxiety in Russia’s near abroad, especially among the Baltic states. And this, they say, is no time to be cutting defence expenditure.”