UK ‘absolutely in favour of nuclear disarmament’ despite Trident expansion, minister says

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The UK is “absolutely in favour of nuclear disarmament”, a minister has said after the government announced it would lift a cap on the number of warheads it can stockpile.

Foreign Office minister James Cleverly defended the government’s integrated defence review, published on Tuesday, which set out Britain’s post-Brexit foreign policy priorities and military plans.

It said the UK would increase limits on its nuclear arsenal by 40 per cent, to 260 warheads, a move campaigners and experts warned could be a violation of international law.

The announcement came despite the UK being a signatory of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which commits the government to gradual nuclear disarmament under international law – a policy successive administrations have adhered to.

Appearing on BBC Newsnight on Tuesday, Mr Cleverly insisted the government was committed to the treaty, saying that “of course” it matters.

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