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  1. ITV Report

Rift opens up in Coalition over Trident nuclear deterrent

A rift opened up in the Coalition today over Britain's underwater nuclear deterrent.

The Liberal Democrats want to save money by reducing the number of Trident nuclear submarines.

But that would mean ending Trident's round the clock patrols - which the Defence Secretary said would be a "huge gamble".

ITV News Political Correspondent, Carl Dinnen reports:

The Liberal Democrats' review into alternatives for Britain's Trident nuclear deterrent concluded that Britain can maintain a strong nuclear stance without a like-for-like replacement of its Trident submarine fleet, but there are still other options to be pursued.

The review said: "The analysis has shown that there are alternatives to Trident that would enable the UK to be capable of inflicting significant damage such that most potential adversaries around the world would be deterred.

The Liberal Democrats' review has put the party at odds with their Conservative coalition partners. Credit: PA Wire

"It also shows that there are alternative non-continuous postures that could be adopted, including by SSBNs, (nuclear missile submarines) which would aim to be at reduced readiness only when the UK assesses the threat of a no-notice pre-emptive attack to be low."