UK denies US approval is needed to use its nuclear weapons London, Nov 1, IRNA UK-Nuclear Weapons Defense Secretary John Reid has denied that the British government needs prior permission from the United States to use its ageing American-made Trident nuclear weapons.
"The United Kingdom's independent nuclear deterrent can be targeted and used without the approval of any other country," Reid said.
In a written reply to parliament published Tuesday, he also said that with regard to requiring US permission for any planned upgrade for the submarine-based system, 'no decisions on any replacement for Trident have yet been taken'.
The defense secretary further insisted that decisions on replacing Trident was 'still some way off' and that it was 'too early to speculate' and what type of successor system is being preferred.
The British government is under growing pressure from backbench MPs to allow a parliamentary vote for the first time before any final decision is made to buy a replacement from the US.
Former international development secretary, Clare Short, who resigned from her cabinet post in protest over the government's post-war Iraq policy, says that there is an overwhelming political case against replacing Trident.
"There is also a strong argument that a weapon to replace Trident would breach the non-proliferation treaty (NPT)," Short said in an article for the Independent newspaper Tuesday.
"There would be no prospect of the UK using it without US approval.
If the UK replaces Trident, we will be locked into the role of US poodle for another generation," she also said.
Other backbench MPs have also argued that British government is being hypocritical in opposing Iran's nuclear program when it is not abiding itself by the terms of the NPT.