I beg to differ
Is a British Prime Minister really free to strike any target he/she chooses in this world with nuclear weapons, at a time of his choosing, using US-supplied missiles? I doubt that the US would sell any foreign power – even a close ally – a weapons system with which the foreign power is free to do catastrophic damage to US allies, not to mention the US itself. Surely, the US must have a mechanism, under its explicit control, to prevent the targeting of states that it doesn’t want targeted?
Unlike other states, Britain is dependent on the US to manufacture an essential element of its only nuclear weapons system - the Trident missiles that are supposed to carry Britain’s weapons to target.
And Britain’s dependence on the US doesn’t end with the purchase of the missiles - Britain depends on the US Navy to service the missiles as well. A common pool of missiles is maintained at the US Strategic Weapons facility at King’s Bay, Georgia, USA, from which the US itself and Britain draw serviced missiles as required.
There is some doubt about the degree of “operational” independence that Britain enjoys in respect of its nuclear weapons system. But there is no doubt that Britain is dependent on the US for the manufacture and maintenance of a key element of the system.
The plain truth is that, if Britain doesn’t maintain friendly relations with the US, then it won’t have a functional nuclear weapons system, despite having spent billions of pounds of British taxpayers’ money on it - because the US would simply cease providing Britain with serviceable Trident missiles.