15 March 2006: for immediate release

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament today called for the Ministry of Defence to fully and transparently participate in the Defence Select Committee’s inquiry into a possible replacement of the Trident nuclear weapon system. The MoD has thus far refused to participate in the Committee’s inquiries, even after Prime Minister Tony Blair promised the public the “fullest debate” on the issue. The MoD has recently announced that they will spend an additional £350 million per year for the next three years at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in Aldermaston, including hiring over 1000 new scientists and engineers.

Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said, “The MoD’s refusal to participate in this democratic inquiry simply increases the worst fear of the majority of the British public – that the decision to replace Trident with a new generation of nuclear weapons has already been made. The hundreds of millions of pounds being invested in AWE Aldermaston and the Faslane submarine base also do nothing to dispel this fear.”

The Defence Select Committee will hold a series of inquiries throughout 2006 in order to “inform the public debate” on the future of Britain’s nuclear weapons programme. Ms Hudson, who gave evidence to the Committee in its first session on 14 March, said, “Tony Blair has promised the public that an honest debate will take place before any decision is made on whether to build new nuclear weapons. As the government department responsible for Britain’s nuclear weapons, it is essential that the Ministry of Defence take part in these discussions.”


Notes to Editor:

1. For further information and interviews please contact Rick Wayman, CND’s Press & Communications Officer, on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859
2. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is one of Europe’s biggest single-issue peace campaigns, with over 32,000 members in the UK. CND campaigns for the abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere.
3. According to a Greenpeace/MORI poll, 54% of British residents oppose the replacement of Trident when they realise how much it is likely to cost.