Liz Truss confirmed she is “ready” to press the UK’s nuclear button if need be – and Twitter is not reassured.
Truss is the frontrunner in the race to be the next Conservative Party leader. If successfully elected by the membership, she would also become the next prime minister, giving her powers over Britain’s nuclear bombs.
They are considered the most dangerous weapons in the world.
Truss was speaking at a hustings event in Birmingham, when host John Pienaar asked her if she would give the order “to unleash nuclear weapons” from Trident.
He added: “It would mean global annihilation. I won’t ask you if you would press the button, you’ll say yes, but faced with that task I would feel physically sick.
“How does that thought make you feel?”
Truss replied: “I think it’s an important duty of the prime minister and I’m ready to do it. I’m ready to do that.”
She has previously indicated that she would renew the nuclear deterrent, which aims to “deter the most extreme threats to our national security and way of life”, during her leadership campaign.
Truss is also the current foreign secretary and was already singled out by the Kremlin back in February for making “absolutely unacceptable statements” about clashes between Nato and Russia.
Moscow then used Truss’ words to put Russia’s nuclear deterrent on high alert.
Rishi Sunak, Truss’ competitor, was reportedly not asked the same question during Tuesday’s hustings.
It’s fair to say that the leadership hopeful’s comments did not land among Twitter users, as people were torn between fearing for the UK’s future and being exasperated that Truss is not focusing on the cost of living crisis at hand.