As NATO leaders meet for their 2023 summit in Lithuania, one Tory MP has called for opposition parliamentarians to be kicked out of their party for showing support for the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. CND asks why aren’t more MPs giving their support to an international ban that is growing in popularity by the day?

Entering into force on 22 January 2021, the TPNW has had widespread support from former world leaders. Prior to its UN vote, 56 former presidents, prime ministers, and defence ministers signed an open letter calling on their respective countries to sign the treaty. These included two former heads of NATO.

Today, 68 states are party to the treaty while a further 27 have signed but not yet ratified Last month, Niger became the latest country to ratify the TPNW and Indonesia and Brazil – two of the world’s most populous nations – are expected to complete their ratification process in the near future. Soon, close to half of the world’s population will have either ratified or signed up to the nuclear ban.

While Australia is proceeding with its plan to purchase nuclear-powered submarines from Britain and the US, an IPSOS poll in 2022 found that 76 per cent of Australians believe that their government should sign the TPNW. In June, survivors and descendants of British nuclear testing in Australia visited Canberra to call on Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to sign the treaty.

Even in Europe, support for a nuclear ban is growing. In Spain, forty-five civil society organisations have formed the Alliance for Nuclear Disarmament, which has the sole aim of getting Spain to join the TPNW. And in Britain, more and more towns and cities are adopting the TPNW locally – with Leicester and Durham recent authorities to adopt the ban. They join the likes of New York, Washington DC, Barcelona, Berlin, and Paris as Nuclear Ban Communities.

CND General Secretary Kate Hudson said:

“The governments of nuclear-armed states will say anything to justify their possession of nuclear arsenals, from ensuring our security to job creation. Britain is one of the world’s largest spenders on conventional and nuclear arms, but a recent study by Common Wealth found that billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money is essentially going on corporate welfare to investors and manufacturers of these weapons. British MPs should be rushing to support the TPNW as the best way to remove the growing threat of nuclear war and divert the billions of pounds wasted on nuclear weapons into tackling the climate crisis and rebuilding our public services.”