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CND’s latest opinion poll of the public’s views on US Missile Defence reveals that a growing number, 61%, think that hosting the system increases rather than diminishes the security threat faced by Britain and Europe. This is an increase from 54% when a similar question was asked last year. The margin between those agreeing that it increases the threat and those disagreeing has grown from 31% to 44%. Only 17% disagree that hosting the system increases the risk to the UK.

Also, a large majority, 68%, wants any UK involvement in the project settled by Parliament, maintaining last year’s figure. Only 16% disagree. However, the Government has refused to allow Parliament a say on the matter for the last five years. Last year, the then Defence Secretary Des Browne announced that the US would be using the Menwith Hill base in Yorkshire for the Missile Defence system, in addition to the Fylingdales radar station. This was announced on the last day before the summer Parliamentary recess, preventing any of the scrutiny which had previously been promised by Tony Blair whilst still Prime Minister.

CND today also released a statement, signed by over 70 senior Labour Party and labour movement figures, including over 50 MPs, backing the opposition to US plans from Labour’s sister parties in central Europe and calling for further debate. Signatories include former Defence Minister Peter Kilfoyle, ex-Foreign Office Minister Chris Mullin, former Deputy Leadership candidate Jon Cruddas and the recently re-elected Chair of the PLP Tony Lloyd.

Labour’s sister parties, the Polish SLD (Democratic Left Alliance) and Czech CSSD (Social Democrats) are united with the majorities of the public in both countries that oppose hosting US bases there – interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic.

The MPs, MEPs, trade union leaders and others state: “We welcome the recent joint statement on US Missile Defence agreed by the leaders of Labour’s sister parties in Poland and the Czech Republic. In recognising their concern at the lack of consultation or acknowledgment of public concern by their governments, we urge the UK government to arrange a full debate to allow MPs to scrutinise in public the US Missile Defence deployment plans in the UK”

Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said “Missile Defence is already pushing us deeper into a new Cold War, with Russia threatening to target European sites if the system is activated. Driving Europe into this throwback from the 1980s will give no security from the actual threats we face. It will further worsen tensions with Russia, leading to greater risk for us all.”

She continued, “The Government has repeatedly tried to avoid debate on this, announcing the US can use the Menwith Hill base for Missile Defence the day before a Parliamentary recess. These are major long-term strategic decisions which will affect our security for decades. The British public is clearly aware of the dangers even if our government wishes to deny them. We need a genuine public and parliamentary debate, not behind the scenes decisions tying us to a system designed to combat a phantom menace.”

Question: The siting of US missiles and early warning bases in Europe, as part of the US National Missile Defence programme, is increasing international tension between the US and Russia and, as a result, increases the threat to UK and European security.
Agree:
61%
Disagree:
17%
Don’t know:
23%

Question: The UK’s support for and involvement in the US National Missile Defence programme, including the siting of US radar and communications bases in Yorkshire, should be decided by the UK Parliament.
Agree:
68%
Disagree:
16%
Don’t know:
16%

Notes to Editors:

For further information and interviews please contact Ben Soffa, CND’s Press 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 35,000 members in the UK. CND campaigns for the abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2087 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between October 24th to 27th 2008. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

“We welcome the recent joint statement on US Missile Defence agreed by the leaders of Labour’s sister parties in Poland and the Czech Republic. In recognising their concern at the lack of consultation or acknowledgment of public concern by their governments, we urge the UK government to arrange a full debate to allow MPs to scrutinise in public the US Missile Defence deployment plans in the UK.”

1. Diane Abbott MP
2. John Austin MP
3. Roger Berry MP
4. Richard Burden MP
5. Colin Burgon MP
6. Ronnie Campbell MP
7. Martin Caton MP
8. Colin Challen MP
9. David Chaytor MP
10. Michael Clapham MP
11. Katy Clark MP
12. Harry Cohen MP
13. Michael Connarty MP
14. Frank Cook MP
15. Jeremy Corbyn MP
16. Jim Cousins MP
17. Jon Cruddas MP
18. Ann Cryer MP
19. Jim Devine MP
20. Jim Dobbin MP
21. Frank Dobson MP
22. David Drew MP
23. Bill Etherington MP
24. Mark Fisher MP
25. Paul Flynn MP
26. Neil Gerrard MP
27. Ian Gibson MP
28. John Grogan MP
29. Fabian Hamilton MP
30. Kate Hoey MP
31. Kelvin Hopkins MP
32. Brian Iddon MP
33. Glenda Jackson MP
34. Lynne Jones MP
35. Peter Kilfoyle MP
36. David Lepper MP
37. Tony Lloyd MP
38. John McDonnell MP
39. Michael Meacher MP
40. Chris Mullin MP
41. Doug Naysmith MP
42. Gordon Prentice MP
43. Ken Purchase MP
44. Linda Riordan MP
45. Alan Simpson MP
46. Marsha Singh MP
47. Dennis Skinner MP
48. Sir Peter Soulsby MP
49. Ian Stewart MP
50. Gavin Strang MP
51. Emily Thornberry MP
52. Joan Walley MP
53. Mike Wood MP
54. Robert Evans MEP
55. Glyn Ford MEP
56. Stephen Hughes MEP
57. Glenys Kinnock MEP
58. David Martin MEP
59. Claude Moraes MEP

60. Lord Alf Dubs
61. Ken Livingstone

62. Derek Simpson, Unite Joint General Secretary
63. Tony Woodley, Unite Joint General Secretary
64. Billy Hayes, CWU General Secretary
65. Gerry Doherty, TSSA General Secretary
66. Keith Norman, ASLEF General Secretary
67. Chris Kitchen, NUM General Secretary
68. Joe Marino, BFAWU General Secretary

69. Ann Black, NEC member
70. Peter Kenyon, NEC member
71. Christine Shawcroft, NEC member
72. Pete Willsman, NEC member