21 February 2007: for immediate release
Tony Blair announced today that thousands of British troops may be withdrawn from Iraq in the coming months.
Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said:
‘The sooner our troops come home, the better. Even the chief of our own defence forces recognises that our presence in Iraq is making matters worse. Blair must stop making vague assurances about troop withdrawal and commit to an unconditional withdrawal of all British troops on a clear and rapid timescale. Nothing short of this will change the situation on the ground or satisfy the demands of the British public.’
During today’s Prime Minister’s Questions, Chris Mullin MP asked Mr Blair about Mohammed ElBaradei’s recent statement that if Britain replaces Trident we can expect other countries to develop their own nuclear weapons. Mr Blair replied that under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the UK is entitled to possess nuclear weapons.
Ms Hudson replied:
‘The NPT does not permit Britain, or any other country, to possess nuclear weapons. On the contrary, we are legally obliged under the Treaty to begin the process towards nuclear disarmament. Mr Blair is clearly out of touch with the prevailing opinion in Britain and the world, which opposes all nuclear weapons. His attempts to rewrite the NPT by suggesting that the UK is entitled to nuclear weapons must be exposed and rejected.’
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.
Ms Hudson said, ‘On Saturday we will be marching for a safer and more secure Britain. A decision not to replace Trident is the best way for Britain to ensure its future security. It must be taken in tandem with government initiatives towards its stated goal of multilateral disarmament: backing a World Summit on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and working towards a Nuclear Weapons Convention banning all such weapons.”
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.
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 35,000 members in the UK. CND campaigns for the abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere.