Almost two thirds of the British public don’t want US nuclear weapons stationed in Britain, snap polling by YouGov has found. The survey comes after nuclear weapons researchers said US Air Force budget documents “strongly imply” that Lakenheath airbase in Suffolk is being primed for the deployment of the B61-12 nuclear bomb. 

Conducted on 31 August, the poll asked: Would you support or oppose allowing the US to station nuclear weapons in Britain? Of the 3,527 people surveyed, 20 percent said they were somewhat opposed while 39 percent said they were strongly opposed. Only 7 percent said they strongly support such a deployment while 16 percent said they somewhat support it. 19 percent of those asked said they don’t know. 

You Gov poll Would you support or oppose allowing the US to station nuclear weapons in Britain? All adults (3527 GB adults - 31 August 2023) Strongly support 7 percent Somewhat support 16 percent Somewhat oppose 20 percent Strongly oppose 39 percent Don't know 18 percent
Source: YouGov

Earlier this week, the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) reported that documents published as part of the US Air Force 2024 budgetary justification package, express the need for the construction of a $50 million 144-bunk “surety dormitory” at Lakenheath. As FAS notes, “surety” is a term used by US government departments and arms firms to “refer to the capability to keep nuclear weapons safe, secure, and under positive control.” The additional housing is necessary for the extra airmen that would need to be deployed to the Suffolk airbase to help maintain any US nuclear presence there. 

The British government has so far refused to comment on the matter of US nuclear weapons in Britain – citing its policy of not commenting on the spending and capability matters of another state as well as “longstanding UK and NATO policy to neither confirm nor deny the presence of nuclear weapons at a given location.”

CND General Secretary Kate Hudson said: 

“When polling reveals that almost two thirds of the British public are opposed to US nuclear weapons in Britain, it’s no surprise that the UK and US governments don’t want the issue openly discussed. But with awareness of this dangerous deployment growing, so too will the opposition. CND calls on Rishi Sunak to refuse to host the US’s nuclear bombs.”