28 October 2005: for immediate release
Nobel Prize winning author Harold Pinter, along with a number of high profile actors and writers, has joined the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in calling for opposition to a Trident Replacement from Labour MPs. Labour MPs will debate the issue in a Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) meeting on Monday 31st October. The government has said it will make a decision on a replacement for Britain’s Nuclear Weapons System in this parliament.

Labour MPs Paul Flynn, John Austin and Gordon Prentice are putting a motion on the cost of a Trident Replacement to the PLP meeting. The motion reads: “This PLP questions the wisdom of spending billions on Trident replacement”.

A Greenpeace poll this week clearly shows that when faced with the financial implications of replacing Trident the majority (54%) oppose the development of a new nuclear weapons system. For full details of the Greenpeace / MORI poll .

On Wednesday 19th October the Prime Minister Tony Blair was asked by the backbench Labour MP and Parliamentary CND member, Paul Flynn, to tell us that, “before any decision is made about spending a massive amount of money-at least £10 billion-on a replacement for Trident, we can have a debate and a vote in the House?” In response the Prime Minister said little more than that “he had no doubt that there will be a great deal of discussion on the issue as the months and years unfold.” CND demands that a full debate and vote is taken.

Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said,

“A full debate and vote must be taken on the issue of Trident replacement. The government must not be allowed to take this decision behind closed doors. Labour MPs will have a chance to discuss this issue on Monday and we hope they will reflect the views of the majority of the British public. The British public understands that money would be better spent on defeating poverty at home and abroad, and providing for employment, education and health. Clearly the British public has made moral and humane advances while our government has not.”

Letter which appeared in Friday’s Guardian newspaper:

The increased debate taking place inside the Labour Party on the question of Trident Replacement is very welcome. We can see no legitimate political, military or moral reason for replacing Trident. It is estimated that replacing Trident would cost at least £15 billion, money which would be better spent on defeating poverty at home and abroad, and providing for employment, education and health. A replacement would contravene the UK’s commitment to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. At the 2000 Review Conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the UK and the other four declared nuclear weapons states gave an “unequivocal undertaking to work towards the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals.” We therefore urge all Labour MPs to oppose Trident Replacement and press for policies that will lead to genuine peace and security.

Lindsay Duncan
Joanne Harris
Marian Keyes
Adrian Mitchell
Harold Pinter
Kate Hudson, Chair Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

CND has produced a detailed briefing on ‘Preventing Trident Replacement’ which outlines the key issues involved in the Trident Replacement debate .


Notes to Editor:

For further information and interviews please contact Ruth Tanner CND’s Press & Communications Officer on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859
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.