For immediate release: 21 June 2006

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament condemned Gordon Brown’s comments earlier tonight that Britain must renew its Trident nuclear weapons system in order to ensure stability and security. Despite Mr Brown’s preference for Trident replacement, 81% of the British public believe that the decision on whether or not to replace Trident should be made by a vote in Parliament, according to a recent ICM poll. (1) (2) (3) CND expressed grave concern that Brown’s comments will pre-empt the full public and parliamentary debate that was promised the British people last year, and that rather than a transparent decision making process taking place with a deciding vote in Parliament by elected representatives of the people, that this decision will be taken behind closed doors as it was in the past over Polaris, Chevaline, and Trident itself.

Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said, “An overwhelming majority (81%) of the British public are demanding that this decision be made by a vote in Parliament, with only 10% believing that the decision should be taken by the Prime Minister. We have been promised a full public and parliamentary debate by Tony Blair, and Brown’s stance may pre-empt this debate. This issue is too serious to be taken behind closed doors; the people’s elected representatives must decide.”

This position is also backed by 122 MPs who have signed EDM 1197, which calls for a debate and deciding vote in Parliament on Trident replacement. Among these MPs is Gordon Prentice, who today questioned the Prime Minister on this matter in Parliament.

Brown’s stance on Trident replacement can be seen as an attempt to show that he is a strong Prime Minister in-waiting who is heavy on the security side. Ms Hudson said, “Nuclear weapons do not provide security and stability – on the contrary, any replacement of Trident will lead to a new nuclear arms race and increased global nuclear proliferation.”

The UK has been a principal actor in the recent negotiations surrounding Iran’s nuclear programme. Ms Hudson pointed out, “A decision to replace Trident would be nuclear hypocrisy of the worst order. To actively pursue a new nuclear arms race in that way will only contribute to global tensions and lead other countries to conclude that they also need to develop nuclear weapons.”

Notes to Editor:

1. ICM Research interviewed a random sample of 1012 adults aged 18+ by telephone between 14-15 June 2006. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.
2. Full details on this ICM poll please contact Rick Wayman, CND Press Officer, on 0207 700 2350 or 07968 420 859
3. The embargo previously announced by CND on the ICM poll results has been lifted
4. For further information and interviews please contact Rick Wayman, CND’s Press & Communications Officer, on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859
5. 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.