Last Friday the United Nations agreed a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons. The British government has now issued a statement in response.

Anti-nuclear campaigners claim the response shows that the government is not serious about working towards a nuclear free world, despite its repeated claims to back a multilateral nuclear disarmament process.

Kate Hudson, CND general secretary, said:

“The government’s response to the global nuclear ban treaty is nonsensical. They say they want to support ‘multilateral [nuclear] disarmament using a step-by-step approach,’ and yet turn their backs on over 120 countries working together to achieve that result.

“The government advocates using existing methods to eliminate nuclear weapons, but the reality is the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has failed.

“And this historic treaty to ban nuclear weapons is a product of that – a world frustrated with the lack of progress by the nuclear states on nuclear disarmament. If the existing legal framework of the NPT was working, they wouldn’t have needed to grasp the nettle that the nuclear states are failing to grasp.

“The government’s decision to replace Trident last year – at a cost of £205 billion – and its boycott of these historic talks at the United Nations, suggests a government that is insincere about working towards a nuclear-free world.

“If ever a U-turn was needed, it is this. We call on the government to sign this nuclear weapons ban treaty and demonstrate that it is sincere about working towards a more peaceful world.”