16 February 2007: for immediate release
Speaking at a Young Labour conference in Glasgow today, Tony Blair said that he ‘doesn’t really know’ why there has not been a debate on Trident replacement in the Labour Party.
After Blair’s speech in front of hundreds of Young Labour members at today’s conference, the press were asked to leave the room prior to the question and answer session.
During the Q&A, a delegate asked the Prime Minister why there has not been a debate and vote in the Labour Party on Trident. Mr Blair, visibly caught off-guard by the question, replied:
‘I don’t really know the answer to be frank. I think in the end there will be a vote in the Commons. There should be a very lively debate in the party and elsewhere. The trouble is we need to take a decision at some point…In terms of the process I honestly don’t know the answer. I know it was an issue at the National Policy Forum and so on but I don’t have a problem with people voting on it at all. Let the party express their view on this but we will need to take a decision on this as a government.’
Seventeen motions on Trident replacement from Constituency Labour Party groups were ruled out of order before the Labour Party conference in 2006. In January 2007 three motions on Trident from members of the Labour National Executive Committee, including CND Vice President Walter Wolfgang, were again ruled out of order.
Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said:
‘Mr Blair has shown that he is completely out of touch with the party he has been elected to lead. Labour members for the past year have been asking for a debate on Trident – a request that has been repeatedly and inexplicably declined. It is time for Blair’s government to end the control-freakery and allow a full debate and consultation on Trident both in the Labour Party and the public domain.’
CND, the Stop the War Coalition, and the British Muslim Initiative are organising a national demonstration in London on Saturday 24th February, calling for ‘No Trident’ and ‘Troops Home from Iraq.’ It is expected to be Britain’s largest anti-nuclear demonstration in decades.
Notes to Editor:
1. EDM 579 states, ‘That this House notes the Prime Minister’s statement in the House of 28th June 2006 that the White Paper The Future of the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Deterrent would be accompanied by an announcement on the means of consultation for the fullest possible debate; is concerned that there has been no provision made for public consultation; believes that a period of three months is insufficient for a discussion on a decision of this magnitude; and calls on the Government to extend the period of consultation to enable all political parties and other organisations with a legitimate interest to undertake full discussion and consultation which will enable them to present their views and make representations to hon. Members before a debate and vote.’ Click here to see a current list of signatories.
2. For further information and interviews please contact Rick Wayman, CND’s Press & Communications Officer, on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859
3. An ICM poll from June 2006 showed that 81% of the British public believes that any decision on Trident replacement should be made by Parliament, not the Prime Minister alone. Click here for a full copy of the poll.
4. According to a July 2006 ICM poll, 59% of the British public opposes a replacement of Trident when presented with a cost of at least £25 billion. Click here for a full copy of the poll.
5. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is one of Europe’s biggest single-issue peace campaigns, with over 35,000 members in the UK. CND campaigns for the abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere.