14 March 2007: for immediate release
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament today strongly condemned parliament’s decision to support the government’s plans to replace Trident, Britain’s nuclear weapons system.
The government’s motion to replace Trident passed despite a significant rebellion by backbench Labour MPs. The government was forced to rely heavily on the Conservatives in order to pass the controversial motion. This was the biggest rebellion during Blair’s tenure other than the Iraq war.
An amendment tabled by Jon Trickett, Sir Menzies Campbell, Dr Gavin Strang, Nick Harvey, Peter Kilfoyle and Joan Ruddock, which stated that the case for Trident replacement is not yet proven and expressed doubt about the need for an early decision, was also defeated by the Blair – Cameron alliance.
Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said:
‘This decision represents a serious democratic deficit. A recent poll shows that 72% of the British public do not want the government to replace Trident now. How is it that so many MPs, and the government itself, is able to so wilfully ignore those they are meant to represent?’
‘It is a significant moral and political victory that the vast majority of the public oppose Trident replacement. We welcome the principled stand of the MPs who voted against the government’s motion, and we encourage them to continue pressuring the government to reverse its shameful position.’
‘The government never allowed a genuine consultation and debate to take place. Six hours of debate on the day of the vote is an affront to the vast majority of people in this country and around the world who oppose nuclear weapons proliferation.’
CND will continue campaigning against British nuclear weapons, and will continue to push for multilateral initiatives to achieve complete nuclear disarmament. A draft Convention banning all nuclear weapons is already lodged at the United Nations (note 2).
The nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty preparatory conference next meets in May 2007. There is still time for Britain to reverse its decision to replace Trident and fulfil its obligations under Article VI of the NPT to disarm.