24 May 2007: for immediate release

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament agrees with the Chairman of the Commons Defence Committee who today condemned the Government’s response to the Committee’s inquiry into Trident. The Government’s response seriously distorts the Committee’s nuanced position, misrepresenting it as supporting the renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system.

Commenting on the Government Response, Committee Chairman Rt Hon James Arbuthnot MP said, “The Government’s Response to our Report is welcome, but it misrepresents our report. In saying that we did not challenge the fundamental decisions in the White Paper, it implies that, as a Committee, we endorse the decision to retain and renew the deterrent. This is not the case. The whole purpose of our inquiry was to challenge the Government’s proposals and subject them to scrutiny, not to come down on one side of the argument.”

Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said, “The fact that the Government’s full response to the inquiry is appearing 3 months after the Commons vote shows how desperate they were to push through this £75 bn decision with as little debate as possible. This is a weak excuse of a response which leaves many of the Committee’s vital questions unanswered. The fact that the response to a 90 page report only runs to 13 pages speaks for itself – it shows contempt for the Parliamentary process and contempt for the British people.”

She continued: “That a senior Committee Chairman has needed to publicly condemn the Government for misrepresenting the position of his committee is a very serious matter. The Government should withdraw its response and produce an accurate reply which actually answers the pressing questions put by the committee rather than fantasising about what the MoD would have liked the Committee to have said”

For links to relevant documents and a chronology, please refer to the notes below.


Notes to Editors:

1. The original Defence Committee report was published on 7th March. The Government released a 6 page reply on the 9th March, prior to the vote on the 14th. The full Government response was published today, over 3 months after the vote.

2. The Parliamentary vote on the 14th March saw Labour’s biggest backbench rebellion on domestic policy of all time, with 95 MPs supporting a amendment calling for more debate.

3. Copies of the Press Release from the Defence Committee can be obtained from CND or from the Committee’s Media Officer, Alex Paterson, Tel 020 7219 1589/ 07917 488488, email – patersona@parliament.uk

4. For further information and interviews please contact Ben Soffa, CND’s Press & Communications Officer, on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859

7. 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.