Theresa May replied with a resounding “yes” after she was asked whether she would kill hundreds of thousands of people in a nuclear strike.
The statement, which was met with shocked exclamations, came in response to Scottish National Party’s George Kerevan challenging question: “Are you prepared to authorize a nuclear strike that could kill hundreds of thousands of men, women and children?”
May promised to press the button and launch U.K.’s Trident missiles against the enemy in a parliamentary debate in favor of spending an excess of 30 billion pounds ($40 billion) to renew the nuclear deterrent.
“The whole point of a deterrent is that our enemies need to know that we would be prepared to use it. Unlike some suggestions that we could have a nuclear deterrent and not be actually be willing to use it,” May added in reference to the Jeremy Corbyn and Green MP Caroline Lucas’ reluctance to renew the country’s ultimate weapon.
May also stated it would be an act of “gross irresponsibility” for Britain to scrap its nuclear weapons and accused the opponents in the liberal party of being “the first to defend the country's enemies,” which prompted a furious response from Lucas.
Previous prime ministers had always avoided directly answering the question of whether they would ever nuke a country and the late British Conservative politician and foreign secretary Geoffrey Howe said the hypothetical question should never be answered be answered in such a direct manner.
The leader of Labour Party, Corbyn, also stated his stance on the nuclear debate, which was, predictably, the opposite of May’s.
“I’m not making the decision that kills millions of innocent people,” said Corbyn. “I do not believe the threat of mass murder is a legitimate way to go about international relations.”
Corbyn also said it was "time for us to step up to the plate" on nuclear disarmament.
“Do these weapons of mass destruction, for that is what they are, act as a deterrent to what we face? And is that deterrent credible?” Corbyn said.
He was supported by Tory Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Crispin Blunt, who criticized the exorbitant cost of the renewal and blasted his party for politicizing the vote.