4 December 2006: for immediate release
Five MPs together with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament are today handing in an Alternative White Paper to Downing Street. Gavin Strang MP, Katy Clark MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Linda Riordan MP, and Michael Meacher MP will join CND Chair Kate Hudson in presenting the Alternative White Paper to the Prime Minister’s residence.
Gavin Strang, Labour MP for Edinburgh East, said, ‘Any decision to replace Trident would be particularly unpopular in Scotland and will be deeply demoralising for Labour Party supporters in particular. There’s no doubt in my view that if we develop another modern generation of nuclear weapons to replace Trident, we’ll be in breach of the NPT. What a situation to find ourselves in. For a Labour government to actually breach the non-proliferation treaty totally undermines our position as a force against nuclear proliferation in the world.’
Linda Riordan, Labour MP for Halifax, said, ‘If the Government is really serious about taking into account the views of its own backbenchers and others, then they would extend the consultation timetable and also allow a free vote. I suspect though, they have already made up their minds. I would encourage everyone who objects to these proposals to let their MP know.’
Jeremy Corbyn, Labour MP for Islington North, said, ‘The government should be producing a Green Paper outlining the options of disarmament, saving money and obeying international law rather than just a plan to continue the immoral holding of nuclear weapons.’
Michael Meacher, Labour MP for Oldham West and Royton, said, “If greater security is the defining factor, then the UK absolutely should not replace Trident. It answers no threats that we currently face and in fact creates more. I am proud to endorse the Alternative White Paper, seeking a safer Britain and a safer world.”
Katy Clark, Labour MP for Ayrshire and Arran, said: ‘Over many, many years Scottish people have made clear that they don’t want weapons of mass destruction in their country. I believe that that view has got to have a voice in a decision on whether Trident is replaced. One of the biggest threats facing us is climate change. The £76 billion that we’re told it would cost to replace Trident would be better spent on developing the technology to defeat that very serious threat.’
Key points highlighted in the Alternative White Paper include:
· The inability of nuclear weapons to meet today’s major security threat, terrorism
· The absence of current nuclear superpower threats
· The promotion of nuclear proliferation: ‘The more that those states that already have [nuclear weapons] increase their arsenals, or insist that such weapons are essential to their national security, the more other states feel that they too must have them for their security’
· Britain’s treaty obligation under the NPT to accomplish the total elimination of its nuclear arsenal
· The cost of Trident replacement: up to £76 billion would adversely affect public spending on health care and other important issues
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. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.