UK’s potential next PM says ‘ready’ to use nuclear weapons if necessary
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who is likely to rise to UK's premiership next month, has flatly declared her willingness to use nuclear weapons as needed, even if it meant global annihilation.
"I think it's an important duty of the prime minister and I'm ready to do that," Truss said during a meeting of Conservative Party members in Birmingham on Tuesday when asked how she felt about pressing "the button" and unleashing "global annihilation" if necessary.
She did not even mention the possibility of first seeking a diplomatic solution to avert a nuclear confrontation.
The top British diplomat – who appears likely to succeed outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson on September 5 – seemed emotionless as she firmly stated she would order the launch of nuclear weapons in response to the event's host, John Pienaar, who said that he would feel "physically sick" at the prospect, according to local reports.
During the hustings event comprising of Tory party faithfuls at the NEC in Birmingham, Pienaar quizzed Truss about the potential outlook, telling her, "One of the first things that will happen when and if you become prime minister, you'll be ushered into a room, a very private room at Number 10, and there will be laid out in front of you what are called the letters of last resort."
"Your orders to our Trident boat captain on whether you, Prime Minister Liz Truss, is giving the order to unleash nuclear weapons. It would mean global annihilation. I won't ask you if you would press the button, you'll say yes, but faced with that task, I would feel physically sick," Pienaar said.
He then asked, "How does that thought make you feel?"
Truss responded by saying, "I think it's an important duty of the prime minister and I'm ready to do that," repeating, "I'm ready to do that."
Truss and former UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak are the two final candidates in the election race in the Conservative Party for the post of prime minister, which came after Johnson announced his resignation on July 7 after facing numerous political scandals.
The last round of voting in the Tory leadership race is underway and will last until early September. During the last round, all members of the party — nearly 200,000 people — will choose the winner from the two finalists. The voting will take place by mail. Johnson's successor will be announced on September 5.
According to the UK's Defense Ministry, the objective of the Trident nuclear missile system is to "deter the most extreme threats to our national security and way of life, which cannot be done by other means."
Truss has previously signaled her intent to renew the nuclear deterrent during her leadership campaign, local news outlets reported. She has also been vocal in her plans to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin, who reportedly singled her out in February when Moscow put its nuclear deterrent on high alert.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov slammed at the time "statements by various representatives at various levels about possible conflict situations and even collisions and clashes between NATO and the Russian Federation."