PM Theresa May was right to give an unequivocal “yes” according to 66 percent of Britons, when asked if she would personally launch a retaliatory nuclear strike that would kill 100,000 civilians, while 59 percent say they would push the button themselves.
The British Prime Minister May said she would use the UK’s nuclear arsenal in response to a nuclear attack by a foreign nation, as she was promoting the renewal of the Trident missile system in Parliament. She argued that threats to the UK from such countries as Russia and North Korea “remain very real.”
May’s attitude was overwhelmingly supported by two-thirds of Britons polled by YouGov on Tuesday and Wednesday. Only 19 percent said she was wrong to say what she did.
Sixty-six percent of respondents said they would support a nuclear retaliation while 59 percent said they would personally launch one, if they were in May’s position.
In a similar poll in October 2015, 37 percent of those asked said they would push the nuclear button if Britain happened to be under attack and 38 percent said they would not. The poll however did not specify whether the attacking nation had used nuclear weapons.
May is the first British PM since the Cold War who chose to give a direct answer to the hypothetical nuclear button question rather than avoid it. Trident missiles were bought from the US under PM Margaret Thatcher’s government, which wanted a national nuclear arsenal as deterrent against Soviet Union.
In February, the BBC showed a mockumentary film about a group of government advisors, who have to tackle an escalating conflict with Russia. The film ends with the US and Russia exchanging tactical nuclear strikes and a Russian nuclear missile on its path towards London. The advisors remain split on whether to attack Russian cities in retaliation.