Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt was speaking out in reassurance during BBC Question Time last night, following probing questions about how far Russian president Vladimir Putin could take his invasion of Ukraine.
Asked about whether or not the Russian premier would consider using his ultimate weapons – which could rain destruction on the globe if triggered – the trade minister insisted: ‘Don’t be afraid.’
In an effort to be ‘reassuring’, the senior Tory MP added: ‘The hardest part of my job [as former defence secretary] is remembering what I can say in public and what I can’t say.
‘But look, I know people will be worried about this when they hear it on the news. My message would be not to be afraid.
‘The [nuclear] deterrent – the clue is in the name – works. It has seen us through some very difficult times.
‘We use it every single hour of every single day and we’ve done so for the last 50 years.
‘The consequences of launching a first strike are so terrible, that is why people don’t do it.
‘What has been the focus in recent day has been whether Putin would use “tactical” [nuclear] weapons in Ukraine.
‘He is utterly barbaric but I hope there are – and think there will be – people around him who will be extremely concerned if he considered doing that.
‘We think that things he has said are not leading that way and my message to you is: “Don’t be afraid.”.’
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