For immediate release: 30 October 2006

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament today called on Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett to facilitate the public and parliamentary debate on a replacement for Trident, Britain’s nuclear weapons system. As a top government minister, Ms Beckett is in an ideal position to make the debate happen, and should take the initiative instead of making abstract calls for a debate.

CND welcomed Ms Beckett’s statement that the British people deserve to have the options laid out before them. However, Kate Hudson, Chair of CND, believes this necessitates much more than the promised White Paper.

Ms Hudson said: ‘A White Paper will not enable a full discussion about the place of nuclear weapons in today’s security situation. The people deserve more than a fait accompli White Paper explaining the government’s line on the issue. We need a Green Paper outlining all available options, including non-replacement.’

A June 2006 ICM poll commissioned by CND shows that 81% of the British public believe that any decision on Trident replacement should be made by a vote in Parliament, not by the Prime Minister alone. (1)

Ms Hudson said: ‘Such an overwhelming majority clearly demonstrates the need for a full debate in which the public and parliament will be made fully aware of all options for Trident replacement and the full implications of each option before a deciding vote on the issue in Parliament.’

Over 260 MPs have signed Early Day Motions demanding a parliamentary debate on Trident replacement. (2) Ms Hudson said: ‘It is very encouraging that such a great number of MPs support the call for a debate on Trident replacement. Many MPs understand that decisions on previous nuclear weapons systems were made without any Parliamentary discussion and in a completely different security context. They realise that the majority of Britons oppose the government building a new generation of nuclear weapons (3) and therefore feel a responsibility to fully debate and vote on the issue.”


Notes to Editor:

1. 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. Click here for a full copy of the poll.

2. 261 MPs have signed one or more of the following EDMs: 649, 1113, 1197, 2575, 2694, 2702 and 2703

3. 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. Click here for a full copy of the poll.

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.