Who owned the British nuclear button when Johnson was ill? No comment | Instant News

LONDON, April 7 (Reuters) – The British government on Tuesday refused to say who was responsible for the British nuclear code while Prime Minister Boris Johnson was treated in intensive care for COVID-19 complications.

When asked by the BBC whether Foreign Minister Dominic Raab had been handed over the nuclear code while Johnson was receiving treatment, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said: “There are well-developed protocols that exist.”

“I really can’t talk about national security issues,” Gove said.

Britain is one of the five official nuclear weapons countries in the world and has four nuclear submarines armed with Trident II D5 ballistic missiles loaded with nuclear warheads. The UK has a stock of about 215 nuclear warheads, although around 120 are available operationally.

Only the British prime minister can authorize a nuclear attack. Such an order would be sent to one of Britain’s nuclear submarines with a special set of codes. (Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Kate Holton)


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