12 March 2007: for immediate release
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament today welcomed the resignation of Nigel Griffiths MP from his position as deputy leader of the Commons. Mr Griffiths announced his resignation today ‘with a clear conscience’ in response to the government’s plans to replace Trident, Britain’s nuclear weapons system.
MPs will debate and vote on the issue of Trident replacement this Wednesday 14th March. A substantial rebellion is expected against the government’s position which would extend Britain’s status as a Nuclear Weapon State until at least 2054.
Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said:
‘We welcome Mr Griffiths’ principled stand against the government’s ill-conceived plan to replace Trident with a new generation of nuclear weapons. It is quite clear that if Britain declares that nuclear weapons are necessary for our security, other countries will come to the same conclusion, leading to a dangerous escalation in global nuclear proliferation.’
‘We hope that more ministers will come to the same conclusion as Nigel Griffiths, and that when MPs vote on Wednesday they will remember that 72% of the British public do not want Trident to be replaced now.’
‘With only two days before parliament is to debate and vote on Trident replacement, the government still has not answered the vital questions raised in last week’s Defence Select Committee report. No wonder there will be a massive rebellion against the government’s position – there are serious outstanding issues of democracy, accountability and transparency.’
‘It is overwhelmingly clear that a decision on Trident replacement does not have to be taken now. Numerous defence experts have testified that this decision does not have to be taken now, and over 150 MPs have now signed EDM 579 calling for an extension to the consultation period on Trident replacement.’
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 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.
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.