The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) has today expressed profound disappointment at the ‘historic opportunity missed’, as a vote at Liberal Democrat Conference failed to oppose Trident replacement.

A vote on the defence paper commits the party to the ‘Trident-lite’ option advocated by the party leadership: which entails replacing the current Trident nuclear weapons fleet with two or three submarines, instead of four.

228 members voted for an amendment calling for Trident to be scrapped and its replacement cancelled, but 322 delegates voted for the Trident-lite option.

‘The Liberal Democrats have a strong recent track record of challenging the status quo over Britain’s nuclear weapons,’ said CND’s Kate Hudson.

‘But today was clearly an historic opportunity missed. The Lib Dems could have stood firm on their principles, which are shared by a majority of the British public who would rather see £100bn spent on health, education and green energy, than an outdated weapons system.’

‘But unfortunately some in the party seem to have seen the ‘Trident-lite’ option as a way to ease potential coalition negotiations in 2015.’

‘For too long, there has been a rigid and unsubstantiated consensus in Westminster that the UK must retain an antiquated weapons system designed for the Cold War.’

‘But the truth is that such a position is not supported strategically or economically. The reality of our security needs, the state of our economy, and the strategic irrelevance of nuclear weapons all point to one conclusion: scrap Trident and cancel its replacement.’