8 March 2007: for immediate release
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament today strongly condemned the government’s motion to replace Trident, which Parliament will debate and vote on next Wednesday, 14th March.
The motion says:
‘That this house supports the government’s decision as set out in the white paper The Future of the United Kingdoms Nuclear Deterrent (CM6994) to take the steps necessary to maintain the UK minimum strategic nuclear deterrent beyond the life of the existing system and to take further steps towards meeting the UK’s disarmament responsibilities under Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.’
Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said:
‘That the government feels it has to make a gesture towards the NPT and the principle of nuclear disarmament demonstrates what pressure it has come under from the British people. But it is plain to see that the two parts of the government’s motion are inconsistent. We know that to pursue Trident replacement would be a material breach of the NPT. Because the government appears to hold the NPT in contempt, this can amount to nothing more than a pious incantation.’
In December 2005, a legal opinion issued by Rabinder Singh QC and Professor Christine Chinkin of Matrix Chambers concluded that a replacement of Trident would ‘likely constitute a material breach of Article VI of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.’ (Note 2)
Ms Hudson continued:
‘The government have added a mention of the NPT because they know this move is massively unpopular. They know that 72% of the population do not want to proceed with Trident replacement now. (Note 1) Given their record and their determination to pursue a new nuclear arms race, this is nothing more than gesture politics. We want substance and a full consultation and debate on the issue, and genuine moves towards disarmament.’
Jeremy Corbyn MP, Chair of Parliamentary CND, said:
‘The government wants to have it both ways, but by committing to rearming they are going against both the spirit and the word of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. If we really want to see a nuclear-free world then we have to vote for it next Wednesday.’
CND has called an emergency parliamentary lobby on 14th March, the day of the debate and vote on Trident replacement. CND has also organised a rally in Parliament Square from 6-8 pm on the day of the vote.
Notes to Editor:
1. For a full copy of the More 4 / Populus poll please contact Rick Wayman, CND’s Press & Communications Officer, on 07968 420 859
2 . For further information and interviews please contact Rick Wayman, CND’s Press & Communications Officer, on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859
3 . An ICM poll from June 2006 showed that 81% of the British public believes that any decision on Trident replacement should be made by Parliament, not the Prime Minister alone.
4 . According to a July 2006 ICM poll, 59% of the British public opposes a replacement of Trident when presented with a cost of at least £25 billion.
5 . 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.