CND welcomes the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee report ‘Global Security: Non-Proliferation’ published today. The Committee has recommended that the government holds a further parliamentary debate on the Trident Replacement process before proceeding to the Design Phase of the system.
The Ministry of Defence is currently planning to submit its first ‘Initial Gate’ report on the replacement process to the government in September 2009 – during the parliamentary recess. This would mean that the process would go ahead without any parliamentary scrutiny, despite increasing calls for a new debate from across the political spectrum – including from retired general who have described Trident as ‘militarily useless’. Last week, signatures on parliamentary Early Day Motion 660, calling for such a debate, exceeded 150.
Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament said: ‘We strongly welcome this recommendation. The demand for a further debate on Trident replacement is growing on a daily basis. Many people question whether such large sums of money – £76 billion in total – can be justified at a time of economic crisis. With increased public concern about public spending priorities, and with top military figures advocating scrapping Trident and reopening the debate it would be irresponsible not to. The government must abandon the planned behind-the-scenes decision and put this crucial issue before parliament again.’
The report also recognises that the decision to replace Trident is seen as contradictory to the government’s declared commitment to strengthening the international non-proliferation regime.
Kate Hudson further commented:
‘The Committee has recognised an extremely important factor. Our government cannot say one thing and do another. It cannot claim to oppose nuclear weapons proliferation and simultaneously pursue new nuclear weapons itself. If the government is serious about preventing nuclear proliferation it has to lead by example and end plans for Trident replacement. Otherwise we will help provoke a spiral of nuclear weapons proliferation which will eventually lead to nuclear war.’