23 March 2004: for immediate use

An adjournment debate on ‘The last step towards the 7th Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in 2005’ will be taking place on Wednesday 24th March from 2pm to 3.30pm in Parliament’s Westminster Hall . The debate has been called for by Jeremy Corbyn MP. MPs will examine the government’s record on disarmament and call on the government to honour its commitments to the NPT. Foreign Office Minister Mr Bill Rammell, MP will be speaking on behalf of the government.

At the 2000 NPT conference the UK and four other declared nuclear weapons states signed a final document in which they gave an ‘unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals’ and agreed to take 13 practical steps for the systematic and complete elimination of nuclear weapons. The purpose of the adjournment debate is to assess how the UK might account for its international obligations, particularly its record on nuclear disarmament under the Treaty.

Kate Hudson, Chair of CND said
“The UK has made no move towards disarmament in the past four years. Contrary to Foreign Office minister Peter Hain’s promise in 2000 that ‘we are unequivocally committed to the pursuit of nuclear disarmament’ the UK’s record over the past four years has been one of complete non achievement.
But not only have we failed every step of the way to implement our NPT commitments, the UK is actively pursuing policies which have the opposite effect. In March 2003, as the UK embarked on an illegal war on Iraq, Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon said that if British troops were threatened by chemical or biological weapons, the government reserved the right to use nuclear weapons.

To comply with the articles of the NPT and follow the 13 agreed steps to nuclear disarmament the government must abandon pre-emptive war as an alternative policy for disarmament, stop research and design work on a new generation of nuclear weapons at the Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Establishment and make an unequivocal statement that it will not replace the Trident nuclear weapons system when its current service life runs out.”


Notes to editor:
1. For further information please contact Ruth Tanner CND’s Press & Communications Officer on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859
2. The fourth and last Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) meeting for the 2005 UN Review Conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) will take place in New York from 26th April to 7th May 2004. At the Conference the UK will be expected to account for its record on nuclear disarmament.
3. The Adjournment debate follows on from EDM 811 put down by Angus Robertson MP of the SNP on UK Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty obligations. The EDM has received cross party support. To see EDM 811 and the MPs who have signed it please go to http://edm.ais.co.uk/weblink/html/motion.html/ref=811