23 February 2007: for immediate release

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament today condemned any UK involvement with the ill-conceived US missile defence programme. The US describes the system as defensive because it has the capacity to shoot down incoming missiles. In reality it would enable the US to attack other countries without fear of retaliation, thus sparking major international concern and provoking a new arms race.

Reports have emerged today that Tony Blair has been discreetly lobbying Washington to have Britain host the missile interceptor site from which the weapons would be shot down.

Public opposition to UK involvement in the US missile defence system is very high – a recent poll showed 67% of the British public oppose any involvement in the missile defence programme (note 1).

Isolated tests of the missile defence system have shown that it is unreliable, with many interceptor missiles failing to hit their targets.

CND also highlighted concerns that the missile defence system will spark a new arms race. Russia has already indicated that it is developing weapons capable of beating any anti-missile defence shield.

Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said:

‘The US missile defence system has a wider aim of space dominance, leading to “full spectrum dominance” – a US military term meaning dominance of the land, sea, air, space and information. The system threatens to provoke international instability, arms proliferation, a space arms race and will fuel the ideology of first strikes. The system is a threat to peace and security, not a path to it.’

She continued, ‘This puts the people of Britain at risk – indeed it puts them on the front line in a future war. The US must call a halt to this dangerous and provocative system, and Britain must not participate in it.’

CND, the Stop the War Coalition, and the British Muslim Initiative are organising a national demonstration in London on Saturday 24th February, calling for ‘No Trident’ and ‘Troops Home from Iraq.’ It is expected to be Britain’s largest anti-nuclear demonstration in decades.


Notes to the Editor

1. For further information and interviews please contact Rick Wayman, CND’s Press & Communications Officer, on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859
2. 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.
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. 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.