As Liz Truss prepares to take the reigns in Downing Street – Christian CND Development Manager Russell Whiting examines one of her first jobs as Prime Minister.
After months of campaigning and endless talk in the media, Liz Truss has now been elected as Leader of the Conservative Party and will take up the position of Prime Minster after visiting the Queen later in the week.
Much has been made throughout the campaign of the various crises facing the new Prime Minster, from energy costs, Ukraine and the wider cost-of-living crisis. Yet little has been said about one of the first duties Liz Truss will undertake when she arrives in Downing Street as Prime Minister for the first time.
Before any announcements on the economy, or even the appointment of the cabinet, Ms Truss will be asked by Senior Civil Servants to write the ‘letters of last resort’ – instructions for the submariners aboard the UK’s nuclear-armed Trident submarines in the event of an attack on the UK.
During a hustings in Birmingham Ms Truss said she was “ready” to give the instructions to launch nuclear weapons, despite the host prefacing his question by saying “it would cause global annihilation”. Despite the gung-ho rhetoric in public, we will never actually know what the letters say. As soon as Ms Truss has written her letters the ones delivered on behalf of Boris Johnson in 2019 will be destroyed without being opened.
According to an article in The Guardian in 2016 the options for the submarine commanders are “Put yourself under the command of the US, if it is still there”, “Go to Australia”, “Retaliate”, or “Use your own judgement”.
The issue of whether or not a politician would “press the button” to launch a nuclear attack has become increasingly political in the past decade – and especially since Jeremy Corbyn said he would not give the instructions were he to become Prime Minister.
Writing to Timothy in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul gives us clear advice on what our response to the new Prime Minister should be. We are to offer “petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving” for everyone, including “kings and all those in authority” which he says “is good, and pleases God our Savior”. While that instruction is always applicable, regardless of our own views about any Prime Minister’s policy agenda, we should be especially fervent in our prayers this week as Ms Truss prepares to undertake this most solemn duty, away from the political and media pressure to act tough.